A big breakfast can help control type 2 diabetes, new research has found

by Barbara Hewitt on April 2, 2018

A high energy breakfast and smaller meals during the rest of the day helps with weight loss for people with type 2 diabetes and reduces the daily dose of insulin needed, new research has found.

Those who have three meals a day, consisting of a big breakfast, an average lunch and a small dinner are most likely to benefit, according to the study from researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

(DUSAN ZIDAR/Shutterstock.com)

‘In obese insulin treated type 2 diabetes patients, a diet with three meals per day, consisting of a big breakfast, average lunch and small dinner, had many rapid and positive effects compared to the traditional diet with six small meals evenly distributed throughout the day,’ said lead study author Daniela Jakubowicz, professor of medicine at Tel Aviv University.

She explained that such a regime led to better weight loss, less hunger and better diabetes control while using less insulin and that the hour of the day when you eat and how frequently you eat is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat.

‘Our body metabolism changes throughout the day. A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening,’ she pointed out.

Jakubowicz and her colleagues studied 11 women and 18 men who had obesity and type 2 diabetes, being treated with insulin with an average of 69. The patients were randomly assigned to consume one of two different weight loss diets, which contained an equal number of daily calories, for three months.

One group (Bdiet) ate three meals consisting of a large breakfast, a medium sized lunch and a small dinner. The second group (6Mdiet) ate the traditional diet for diabetes and weight loss of six small meals evenly spaced throughout the day, including three snacks.

Overall glucose levels and glucose spikes were measured for 14 days at baseline, during the first two weeks on diet, and at the end of the study by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Glucose levels were tested every two weeks and insulin dosage was adjusted as needed.

At three months, while the Bdiet group lost five kilograms, the 6Mdiet group gained 1.4 kg and fasting glucose levels decreased from 161 to 107 in the Bdiet group but only from 164 to 141 in the 6Mdiet group.

The Bdiet group needed significantly less insulin down from 54.7 units per day to 34.8 while the 6Mdiet group needed more insulin, up 67.8 to 70 units. Carbohydrate craving and hunger decreased significantly in Bdiet group but increased in the 6Mdiet group.

The researchers also found a significant reduction of overall glycaemia after as little as 14 days on Bdiet, when the participant had almost the same weight as at baseline. This finding suggests that even before weight loss, the change in the meal timing itself has a quick beneficial effect on glucose balance that is further improved by the important weight loss found in the 3M diet.

‘A diet with adequate meal timing and frequency has a pivotal role in glucose control and weight loss,’ Jakubowicz concluded.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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