A new study out last month shows that beginning the day with a big breakfast and reducing meal size throughout the day can be even more important than what you eat.
And, for those who are obese and suffer from type 2 diabetes, it can have a significant effect on weight loss, diabetes control, insulin dependence and food cravings.
Patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes are typically prescribed medications, as well as a healthy diet and exercise. Historically, this meant eating as many as six meals per day spaced out evenly in the hopes of raising the rate at which calories are burned.
Doctors also usually suggest meals with more complex carbohydrates, beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. However, patients often report problems sticking to these diets, with convenience or extreme hunger cravings listed as some of the main reasons.
According to one study, this may be as easy to fix as changing the timing of your meals.
Israeli Study Compares Multiple Meals with Meal Regression
The study, which was recently presented at the 100th anniversary meeting of The Endocrine Society, was conducted by doctors at the Tel Aviv University in Israel, and sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Health.
Researchers followed 29 women and men of an average age of 69 who were obese and had type 2 diabetes. The participants were split into 2 groups, who, for three months, ate the same number of calories per day.
However, one group ate six meals spaced evenly throughout the day, while the other group ate three meals consisting of a big breakfast, medium sized lunch and a small meal for dinner.
Then, researchers measured overall glucose levels, glucose spikes, insulin needs, weight loss and reported hunger cravings in each patient on a regular basis.
Large Breakfast Diet Shows Multiple Benefits
What the research team found was astounding: The 6 meal-per-day group gained an average of 3 pounds while the big breakfast group lost 11 pounds on average.
Glucose levels were highly affected as well: In the 6 meal group, fasting glucose levels dropped an average of 23 points; In the big breakfast group these dropped 54 points on average.
Glucose levels during sleep didn’t drop at all in the 6 meal group, but dropped by 24 points on average in the big breakfast group.
Overall glucose dropped only 17 points over the entire three months in the 6 meal group, but was lowered by 38 points in the big breakfast group. And, all the improvements in glucose levels started within 14 days of when participants switched to the big breakfast meal plan.
The group eating 6 meals ended the study by actually needing 2.2 more units of insulin per day, while the big breakfast group required 20.5 less units of insulin each day by the end of the study.
Perhaps most comforting, hunger urges and carbohydrate cravings were reduced significantly in the group eating big breakfasts, while they increased in the 6 meal-per-day group.
Changes in Diet Could Effect Medication Needs
Not surprisingly, researchers concluded that the diet of a big breakfast, medium lunch and smaller dinner was more beneficial for weight loss, blood sugar control, insulin dependence and food cravings than the diet of 6 meals per day.
One reason for this, doctors noted, was that the rate at which our bodies burn calories changes throughout the day, meaning the time and size of meals is more important than what we eat.
And, the fact that patients required less insulin could also translate into reduction in the amount of diabetes medications needed. This is especially important given the mounting evidence that these drugs may be linked to serious health risks.
In just the past decade, drugs like Invokana have been linked to high blood acid, kidney disease and leg amputation risks; while incretin mimetic drugs like Januvia, Victoza, Trulicity and Tradjenta have been linked to pancreatic cancer.
And, many of the leading drugs prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes are so new that doctors don’t even yet know the full range of health risks.
For more on the dangers of diabetes drugs, alternative treatments, or to discuss your case directly with an attorney, contact DrugNews today.
Endocrine Society. High-energy breakfast promotes weight loss. Medical Xpress. (March 18, 2018). Retrieved from www.medicalxpress.com
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