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Photo: Zach Sheldon

Two Penn professors received a five-year, $3.75 million grant to continue research on the correlation between delaying mealtimes and general health.

Perelman School of Medicine professors Namni Goel and Kelly Allison previously collaborated on research that suggested that later mealtimes can be detrimental to the body's natural rhythm, metabolism, and other health markers. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases awarded the grant for Goel and Allison to conduct further research into understanding their findings.

In the press release, Allison said the new research will focus on "delving deeper into the underlying mechanisms that explain these effects, and how they influence specific populations."

The grant will enable the team to conduct two eight-week studies, both of which will focus on adults with obesity without metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions including high blood sugar and abnormal triglyceride levels. The first will study the metabolic effects of the subjects' eating times, while the second will focus on the mechanisms of different eating schedules.

Goel and Allison's initial study, which was published this past June, was the first long-term study of the health effects of mealtimes that pinpointed concrete consequences of delaying eating. 

This upcoming study has "potentially broad clinic implications," Goel said in the press release. Goel added that the research could help inform recommendations for healthily-timed eating habits, identify targets for medical interventions for obesity, and prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes from developing.

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