Obese people with type 2 diabetes who eat a high-energy breakfast and a small dinner could experience weight loss and a decreased need for insulin compared to those who eat many smaller meals through the day, research suggests.
The findings were presented at ENDO 2018 in Chicago, Illinois, where Israeli researchers reported how eating a big breakfast followed by an average-size lunch and a small dinner had positive effects compared with eating six small meals per day, including three snacks.
It is not clear from the results whether participants’ high-energy breakfast consisted of foods high in carbohydrate or those higher in fats.
The study team from Tel Aviv University examined 29 adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes who were all treated with insulin and had an average age of 69. Participants were randomly assigned to the Bdiet group, which ate the high-energy breakfast, or the 6Mdiet group, which ate the six small meals spread evenly throughout the day.
Blood sugar changes were monitored for 14 days prior to the diet beginning, then during the first two weeks on the diet and at the study’s end, three months later, using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Insulin dosages were adjusted as required.
The Bdiet group lost 5kg (11lbs) on average, while the 6Mdiet gained weight. The Bdiet group also experienced greater blood glucose reductions at 14 days and after three months, and required significantly less insulin during the study period.
“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,” said lead study author Daniela Jakubowicz, M.D.
“A diet with adequate meal timing and frequency has a pivotal role in glucose control and weight loss.”
Benedict Jephcote, Editor of Diabetes.co.uk, said: “The findings appear to support, to some degreen, the theory supported by Dr Jason Fung, that many meals during the day, including snacks, leaves little space for the body to lose weight.
“Many meals during the day prevents insulin levels dropping low enough for the body to burn body fat stores. The need for low insulin levels to allow for weight loss is a key area of research at the moment.”

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