Background/objectives: It has been hypothesized that assuming most of the caloric intake later in the day leads to metabolic disadvantages, but few studies are available on this topic. Aim of our study was to prospectively examine whether eating more of the daily caloric intake at dinner leads to an increased risk of obesity, hyperglycemia, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Subjects/methods: 1245 non-obese, non-diabetic middle-aged adults from a population-based cohort underwent a 3-day food record questionnaire at enrollment. Anthropometric values, blood pressure, blood metabolic variables, and estimated liver fat were measured at baseline and at 6-year follow-up.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Results: Subjects were divided according to tertiles of percent daily caloric intake at dinner. A significant increase in the incidence rate of obesity (from 4.7 to 11.4%), metabolic syndrome (from 11.1 to 16.1%), and estimated NAFLD (from 16.5 to 23.8%) was observed from the lower to higher tertile. In a multiple logistic regression model adjusted for multiple covariates, subjects in the highest tertile showed an increased risk of developing obesity (OR = 2.33; 95% CI 1.17-4.65; p = 0.02), metabolic syndrome (OR = 1.52; 95% CI 1.01-2.30; p = 0.04), and NAFLD (OR = 1.56; 95% CI 1.10-2.22; p = 0.01).
Conclusions: Consuming more of the daily energy intake at dinner is associated with an increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and NAFLD.