Two large meals better than six small meals for controlling weight, blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes

May 15, 2014, Diabetologia

Research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) suggests that two large meals (breakfast and lunch), rather than six small meals with the same total calories, are better for controlling weight and blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. The research is by Dr Hana Kahleová, Diabetes Centre, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic, and colleagues.

The study assessed 54 patients (29 men, 25 women) treated with oral diabetes drugs, aged 30–70 years, BMI 27–50 kg/m2 and HbA1c of 6–11.8% (42–105 mmol/mol). They were asked to follow one of two regimens of a restricted calorie diet, each containing 500 calories less than the recommended daily amount; in one programme the meals were six small meals (A6) and the other 2 large meals, breakfast and lunch (B2). In this cross-over trial, the 54 participants were divided into 2 groups of 27, with each group doing one of the two programmes for 12 weeks, and then after finishing moving on to the other programme, again for 12 weeks. The diet in both regimens had the same macronutrient and calorie content. Liver , and pancreatic beta cell function (the cells that produce insulin) were measured using a variety of techniques and mathematical modelling.

The researchers found that body weight decreased in both regimens, more for B2 (-3.7kg) than for A6 (-2.3kg). Liver fat content decreased in response to both regimens, more for B2 (-0.04%) than for A6 (-0.03%). Fasting plasma glucose and C-peptide levels decreased in both regimens, again more for B2. Fasting plasma glucagon (the hormone that converts glycogen back to glucose) decreased with the B2 regimen, whereas it increased for the A6 regimen. Oral glucose insulin sensitivity (OGIS) increased in both regimens, more for B2. No adverse events were observed for either regimen.

The authors say: "Eating only breakfast and lunch reduced body weight, content, fasting plasma glucose, C-peptide and glucagon, and increased OGIS, more than the same caloric restriction split into six meals. These results suggest that, for type 2 diabetic patients on a calorie-restricted diet, eating larger breakfasts and lunches may be more beneficial than six smaller meals during the day."

They add: "Novel therapeutic strategies should incorporate not only the energy and macronutrient content but also the frequency and timing of food. Further larger scale, long-term studies are essential before offering recommendations in terms of meal frequency."

Explore further: Snacking contributes to fatty liver and abdominal obesity

Related Stories

Snacking contributes to fatty liver and abdominal obesity

May 6, 2014
Researchers from The Netherlands found that snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods was independently associated with abdominal fat and fatty liver (hepatic steatosis). According to the study published in Hepatology, a ...

Mediterranean diet without breakfast the best choice for diabetics, new study says

November 29, 2013
For patients with diabetes, it is better to eat a single large meal than several smaller meals throughout the day. This is the result of a current dietary study at Linköping University in Sweden.

Consuming high-protein breakfasts helps women maintain glucose control

April 29, 2014
In healthy individuals, the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood increases after eating. When glucose increases, levels of insulin increase to carry the glucose to the rest of the body. Previous research has shown that ...

Insulin sensitivity normally highest after breakfast

October 26, 2012
(HealthDay)—In healthy people without diabetes, glucose responsiveness tends to be higher after breakfast, which may have implications for the design of closed-loop insulin delivery systems for diabetes patients, according ...

Study shows dietary fat can affect glucose levels and insulin requirements in type 1 diabetes

March 27, 2013
In a study of patients with type 1 diabetes, Joslin researchers found that dietary fat can affect glucose levels and insulin requirements. These findings, which appeared in the April edition of Diabetes Care, have major implications ...

Short bursts of intense exercise before meals control blood sugar better than 1 continuous 30 minute session

May 8, 2014
New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) indicates that brief bursts of intense exercise before meals (termed exercise 'snacking' by the study authors) helps ...

Recommended for you

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

January 17, 2018
Six novel chromosomal regions identified by scientists leading a large, prospective study of children at risk for type 1 diabetes will enable the discovery of more genes that cause the disease and more targets for treating ...

Women who have gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at higher risk of future health issues

January 16, 2018
Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy have a higher than usual risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in the future, according to new research led by the ...

Diabetes gene found that causes low and high blood sugar levels in the same family

January 15, 2018
A study of families with rare blood sugar conditions has revealed a new gene thought to be critical in the regulation of insulin, the key hormone in diabetes.

Discovery could lead to new therapies for diabetics

January 12, 2018
New research by MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., and her team has demonstrated that an enzyme she had previously identified as playing a role in peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy ...

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue

January 11, 2018
The human body has two primary kinds of fat—white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories in order to produce heat and has garnered interest as a potential means ...

Big strides made in diabetes care

January 5, 2018
(HealthDay)—This past year was a busy, productive one for diabetes research and care.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.