A small study based on the dietary ritual of the Muslim holiday Ramadan has found that limiting carbs to dinner time increases feelings of satiety, which could ward off obesity and weight-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
The results of the small-scale study out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem run counter to the popularity of low-carb diets, which advocate either restricting carbs to early in the day or eliminating them as much as possible from the diet.
But in their experiment, scientists say that when carb intake was restricted to the dinner hour, participants recorded lower hunger scores, and improved weight, abdominal circumference, body fat and blood sugar levels compared to their counterparts in the control group.
The conclusions stem from two different studies published in the journals Obesity, Nutrition, and Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases and released over the weekend.
For their research, 63 police officers were recruited to follow either a carb-controlled diet or a control diet of carb intake throughout the day.
Scientists looked at how the diets affected three different hormones: the satiety hormone leptin, ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and adiponectin which links obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset.
The next step will be to analyze the mechanisms responsible for the pattern, scientists say.
Meanwhile, the scientific community is divided when it comes to carb consumption. In another study presented by The Endocrine Society in 2008, for instance, found that eating a protein and carb-loaded breakfast helped participants lose weight.