Early birds may have a leg up over night owls when it comes to health and weight, new research suggests.
Investigators in Finland found that morning people tend to eat better and earlier in the day than late-to-bed types. The result: a higher risk of obesity for the night owls, said study lead author Mirkka Maukonen, of the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki.
“We found that night owls had postponed timing of food intake, and less favorable eating patterns with higher intakes of sucrose, fat and saturated fat in the evening hours than early birds,” said Maukonen, a doctoral candidate in the department of public health solutions. Sucrose is a type of sugar.
Registered dietitian Lona Sandon, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, wasn’t surprised by the findings. She said physiology and biology likely play a role.
“Past research has shown that hormones that impact appetite and metabolism — the way our body uses or stores energy — are produced at different levels throughout the day and night,” said Sandon, who wasn’t involved in the study. “The amount of sleep and time period of sleep may affect the production of these hormones, and therefore drive differences in appetite or food choices as well as body composition and weight,” she explained.
Researchers determined that early birds are more likely to eat healthier and earlier than night owls, which could potentially lead to an increased risk of obesity for the late sleepers. The study also revealed that night owls eat more sugars and fats than early birds. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.