Effects of Meal Timing on Postprandial Glucose Metabolism and Blood Metabolites in Healthy Adults

Nutrients. 2018 Nov 14;10(11):1763. doi: 10.3390/nu10111763.


We examined the effects of meal timing on postprandial glucose metabolism, including the incretin response and metabolites in healthy adults. Nineteen healthy young men completed two trials involving blood collection in a fasting state and at 30, 60 and 120 min after meal provision in a random order: (1) morning (~0900 h) and (2) evening (~1700 h). The blood metabolome of eight participants was analyzed using capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry. Postprandial glucose concentrations at 120 min (p = 0.030) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide concentrations (p = 0.005) at 60 min in the evening trials were higher than those in the morning trials. The incremental area under the curve values of five glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle and nucleotide-related metabolites and 18 amino acid-related metabolites were higher in the morning trials than those in the evening trials (p < 0.05). Partial least-squares analysis revealed that the total metabolic change was higher in the morning. Our study demonstrates that a meal in the evening exacerbates the state of postprandial hyperglycemia in healthy adults. In addition, this study provides insight into the difference of incretion and blood metabolites between breakfast and dinner, indicating that the total metabolic responses tends to be higher in the morning.

Keywords: incretin; meal timing; metabolome.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / blood
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Meals*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucose