Prospective association between late evening food consumption and risk of prediabetes and diabetes: the Whitehall II cohort study

Diabet Med. 2019 Oct;36(10):1256-1260. doi: 10.1111/dme.13951. Epub 2019 Apr 11.


Aims: We examined whether late evening food consumption was prospectively associated with the risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes in a large observational study of individuals with normoglycaemia.

Methods: Participants were 2642 men and women with normoglycaemia (HbA1c < 39 mmol/mol; < 5.7%) from the Whitehall II study. Time of last eating episode (TLEE) before the examination day was assessed at baseline. We studied the associations of TLEE with 5-year changes in HbA1c and risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes (HbA1c ≥ 39 mmol/mol; ≥ 5.7%). Potential heterogeneity in the association between TLEE and prediabetes or diabetes was examined using recursive partitioning modelling for time-to-event outcomes.

Results: There was a tendency of an overall association of TLEE with change in HbA1c but with little effect size [β per 1-h increase in TLEE = 0.2 mmol/mol, 95% CI -0.0 to 0.3 (0.01%, -0.00 to 0.03); P = 0.055] and no association with the risk of developing prediabetes/diabetes (risk ratio per 1-h increase in TLEE = 1.03, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.13; P = 0.511). According to the recursive partitioning modelling, women with HbA1c ≤ 36 mmol/mol and TLEE after 21:00 had a 1.51 times (95% CI 1.16 to 1.93) higher 5-year risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes than those having their TLEE between 16:00 and 21:00 (35.4% vs. 23.5%; P = 0.003).

Conclusions: There was no overall association of TLEE with the development of prediabetes or diabetes in the Whitehall II population. However, explorative analyses suggested that eating late in the evening was associated with increased risk of developing prediabetes/diabetes among women with good glycaemic control. Whether restricting late evening food consumption is effective and feasible for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes needs testing in randomized controlled trials.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prediabetic State / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A