A healthy bowl of cereal and fruit!

    A high-energy breakfast promotes weight loss in type 2 diabetes patients

    20 March 2018

    Eating a high-energy breakfast promotes weight loss, improves diabetes and decreases the need for insulin, according to new research by Israel’s Ministry of Health.

    The study’s lead author, Daniela Jakubowicz of Tel Aviv University, said: ‘This study shows that, 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: better weight loss, less hunger and better diabetes control while using less insulin.’

    ‘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.’

    Jakubowicz and her colleagues studied 11 women and 18 men (with an average age of 69) who had obesity and type 2 diabetes, being treated with insulin. 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 (on the ‘Bdiet’) ate three meals: a large breakfast, a medium-sized lunch and a small dinner. The second group (on the ‘6Mdiet’) ate the traditional diet for diabetes and weight loss: 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. Glucose levels were tested every two weeks and insulin dosage was adjusted as needed.

    At three months, while the Bdiet group lost 11 pounds and the 6Mdiet group gained three pounds.

    Fasting glucose levels decreased 54 mg/dl in the Bdiet group but only 23 mg/dl in the 6Mdiet group. The Bdiet group needed significantly less insulin (-20.5 units/day, from 54.7 to 34.8) while the 6Mdiet group needed more insulin (+2.2 units/day, from 67.8 to 70).

    The researchers found a significant reduction of overall glycemia 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 beneficial effect on glucose balance that is further improved by the important weight loss found in the 3M diet.