Breakfast can help combat risk of diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on December 1, 2017

Regularly eating breakfast can help lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease as a meal first thing helps regulate insulin in the body, new research has found.

The first meal of the day triggers the body’s fat cells to eat up sugar rather than store it, helping to regulate insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels, and prevent the body from producing excess fat which commonly triggers diabetes and heart disease.


The researchers from the Universities of Bath and Nottingham in England also found that fat in obese people responds less to insulin than in lean people do. Importantly, this decrease is proportional to the person’s total amount of body fat.

For six weeks, the researchers asked 49 adults of which 29 were lean and 20 obese, to either eat breakfast every day before 11 am or fast until midday. Participants eating breakfast were asked to consume 350 kilocalories within two hours of waking and at least 700 calories by 11am every day; whereas the fasting group consumed nothing until midday.

Before and after the six weeks, the researchers measured metabolism, body composition, appetite responses and markers of metabolic and cardiovascular health. They also measured participants’ fat for the activity of 44 different genes and key proteins, and studied the ability of the fat cells to take up glucose in response to insulin.

‘By better understanding how fat responds to what and when we eat, we can more precisely target those mechanisms. We may be able to uncover new ways to prevent the negative consequences of having a large amount of body fat, even if we cannot get rid of it,’ said Javier Gonzalez, lead author of the study.

‘Since participants ate high-carb breakfasts, we cannot necessarily extrapolate our findings to other types of breakfasts, particularly those with high protein content. Our future studies will also explore how breakfast interacts with other lifestyle factors such as exercise,’ Gonzalez added.



The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the 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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