A small study finds that diabetics who ate a big breakfast and small dinner had better glucose control than those who ate the opposite. Steve Mirsky reports
April 1, 2015 |By Steve Mirsky
People with type 2 diabetes have to keep a close watch on their blood glucose levels. Now a small study finds that having the day’s biggest meal at breakfast and smallest meal at dinner offers much better glucose control than having a small breakfast and big dinner—even when the total intake during the day was exactly the same: 1,500 calories. The study, by researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv University, Sweden’s Lund University and other institutions, is in the journal Diabetologia. [Daniela Jakubowicz et al, High-energy breakfast with low-energy dinner decreases overall daily hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomised clinical trial]
Eighteen adult volunteers, 10 women and eight men all with type 2 diabetes, were assigned by a coin flip to either the big breakfast diet or the big dinner one. In the big dinner diet, participants spent a week having about a 200-calorie breakfast, a 600-calorie lunch and a 700-calorie dinner. The big breakfast diet was the reverse, with the 700-calorie meal in the morning, the 600-calorie lunch and a light, 200 calorie dinner.
After two weeks, the groups switched meal plans, so that the big dinner folks became the big breakfast folks and vice versa. And overall, various measures of blood glucose and insulin levels were significantly better in those who had their big meal in the morning.
The next steps are longer studies with more participants. But like a healthy breakfast, this research seems like a good start.