Jun and team studied 20 healthy volunteers (10 men and 10 women) to find out how their bodies metabolized dinner eaten at 10 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.

All study participants went to sleep at the same time: 11 p.m.

Study findings show that blood sugar levels are higher, and the amount of fat burned lower, when eating a late dinner, even when people ate the same meal.

“We weren’t surprised. Other researchers have done similar work looking at circadian rhythms and diet, and other labs have shown that if you eat out of phase with your body’s normal circadian rhythm, you don’t metabolize glucose the same way,” Jun said.

The study found that late eaters had peak blood sugar levels almost 20 percent higher and fat burning reduced by 10 percent, compared with those who ate dinner earlier.

“The effects we have seen in healthy volunteers might be more pronounced in people with obesity or diabetes, who already have a compromised metabolism,” said the study’s first author Chenjuan Gu, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University, in a statement.

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