Extending the overnight fast: sex differences in acute metabolic responses to breakfast

Fiona S. Atkinson, Gabriella A. Heruc, Verena M. H. Tan, Peter Petocz, Jennie C. Brand-Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Downloads (Pure)


    Fasting for over 24 h is associated with worsening glucose tolerance, but the effect of extending the overnight fast period (a form of time-restricted feeding) on acute metabolic responses and insulin sensitivity is unclear. The aim of this pilot study was to determine the acute impact of an increased fasting period on postprandial glycaemia, insulinemia, and acute insulin sensitivity responses to a standard meal. Twenty-four lean, young, healthy adults (12 males, 12 females) consumed a standard breakfast after an overnight fast of 12, 14, and 16 h. Each fast duration was repeated on three separate occasions (3 × 3) in random order. Postprandial glucose and insulin responses were measured at regular intervals over 2 h and quantified as incremental area under the curve (iAUC). Insulin sensitivity was determined by homeostatic modelling assessment (HOMA). After 2 h, ad libitum food intake at a buffet meal was recorded. In females, but not males, insulin sensitivity improved (HOMA%S +35%, p = 0.016, marginally significant) with longer fast duration (16 h vs. 12 h), but paradoxically, postprandial glycaemia was higher (glucose iAUC +37%, p = 0.002). Overall, males showed no differences in glucose or insulin homeostasis. Both sexes consumed more energy (+28%) at the subsequent meal (16 h vs. 12 h). Delaying the first meal of the day by 4 h by extending the fasting period may have adverse metabolic effects in young, healthy, adult females, but not males.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2173
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • glucose tolerance
    • insulin sensitivity
    • overnight fasting
    • time-restricted feeding
    • postprandial glycaemia


    Dive into the research topics of 'Extending the overnight fast: sex differences in acute metabolic responses to breakfast'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this