Objective: Later circadian timing of energy intake is associated with higher body fat percentage. Current methods for obtaining accurate circadian timing are labor- and cost-intensive, limiting practical application of this relationship. This study investigated whether the timing of energy intake relative to a mathematically modeled circadian time, derived from easily collected ambulatory data, would differ between participants with a lean or overweight/obesity body fat percentage. Methods: Participants (N = 87) wore a light- and activity-measuring device (actigraph) throughout a cross-sectional 30-day study. For 7 consecutive days within these 30 days, participants used a time-stamped-picture phone application to record energy intake. Body fat percentage was recorded. Circadian time was defined using melatonin onset from in-laboratory collected repeat saliva sampling or using light and activity or activity data alone entered into a mathematical model. Results: Participants with overweight/obesity body fat percentages ate 50% of their daily calories significantly closer to model-predicted melatonin onset from light and activity data (0.61 hours closer) or activity data alone (0.86 hours closer; both log-rank p < 0.05). Conclusions: Use of mathematically modeled circadian timing resulted in similar relationships between the timing of energy intake and body composition as that observed using in-laboratory collected metrics. These findings may facilitate use of circadian timing in time-based interventions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics