A Higher Intake of Energy at Dinner Is Associated with Incident Metabolic Syndrome: A Prospective Cohort Study in Older Adults

Nutrients. 2021 Aug 30;13(9):3035. doi: 10.3390/nu13093035.


A higher energy intake (EI) at night has been associated with a higher risk of obesity, while a higher EI at lunch may protect against weight gain. This study examined the association between EI throughout the day and incident metabolic syndrome (MetS) among older adults. A cohort of 607 individuals aged ≥ 60 free from MetS at baseline was followed from 2008-2010 until 2015. At baseline, habitual EI was assessed on six eating occasions: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and snacking. MetS was defined according to the harmonized definition. Statistical analyses were performed with logistic regression and adjusted for the main confounders, including total EI, diet quality, and physical activity/sedentary behavior. During follow-up, 101 new MetS cases occurred. Compared to the lowest sex-specific quartile of EI at dinner, the OR (95% confidence interval) for incident MetS were: 1.71 (0.85-3.46) in the second, 1.70 (0.81-3.54) in the third, and 2.57 (1.14-5.79) in the fourth quartile (p-trend: 0.034). Elevated waist circumference and triglycerides were the MetS components that most contributed to this association. A higher EI at dinner was associated with a higher risk of MetS in older adults. Reducing EI at dinner might be a simple strategy to prevent MetS.

Keywords: chronobiology; dinner intake; eating occasions; food intake; intake of energy; metabolic syndrome; timing of food, older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet / methods*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Meals / physiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies