2 larger meals beats 6 much smaller meals for type 2 diabetes

Fri, 16 May 2014
A Czech study shows that eating two larger meals for breakfast and lunch lead to greater weight loss, for people with type 2 diabetes, than having 6 smaller meals spread through the day.

Each of the diets compared had the same daily calorie intake of 1,700 kcal. 54 participants, aged between 30 and 70 with type 2 diabetes, took part in the research study which was carried out by the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague.

Participants were split into two groups of 27. The first group maintained a diet which consisted of 6 small meals a day for 12 weeks. After which, they moved onto a 12 week diet of two larger meals at breakfast and lunch, missing out dinner. The second group had the same two diets but started with the 2 meal diet and then moved onto the 6 small meals diet.

Participants lost weight on both diets but the 2 meal diet was more effective, resulting in an average 3.7kg weight loss compared with a 2.3kg weight loss on the 6 meal diet. Fasting plasma glucose levels also experienced greater improvement as a result of the 2 meal diet.

Reductions in HbA1c were modestly improved in both groups by around 0.25% (3 mmol/mol). Both diets were low calorie and included 50-55% of energy from carbohydrate and under 30% of energy from fat.

Whilst lower carb, higher fat studies have shown greater improvement in HbA1c, for type 2 diabetes, the study shows that those wishing to maintain a higher carb, low fat diet may have more success in weight loss by splitting a low calorie intake between breakfast and lunch and skipping dinner.

Whilst the study was well run, it should also be noted that the number of participants taking was a relatively small sample and therefore not as statistically robust as a larger, similarly conducted study would be.
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