A new study from Tel Aviv University in Israel has suggested that a high-carbohydrate breakfast early in the morning, along with a light dinner, may help decrease insulin injections and other medications for many diabetics.
The traditional diabetic diet specifies six small meals spread throughout the day. But our research proposes changing high-carbohydrate calories early in the day. This produces a glucose balance and better glycemic control among type 2 diabetics. We believe that through this diet it would be possible for diabetics to significantly reduce or even stop insulin injections and most anti-diabetic drugs,” says Daniela Jakubowicz, one of the authors of the study, which has been published in the journal Diabetes Care.
Type 2 diabetics are injected with insulin, a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into the liver, muscles and fat cells, up to four times a day. But these injections are linked to weight gain and loss of control of blood sugar levels. This triggers a vicious cycle of higher doses of insulin, continued weight gain, increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, and other complications.
Sweet Epidemic: Diabetes Remains Unstoppable
The researchers explain that the metabolism and biological clock are optimized for eating in the morning and for fasting in the afternoon and evening, when one is supposed to sleep. “But the usual diet recommended for type 2 diabetes consists of several small meals distributed evenly throughout the day. For example, three meals and three snacks a day, including a drink before bedtime to avoid a drop in blood sugar levels during the night,” notes Jakubowicz.
But the researcher believes that the ‘6M diet’, as it is known, has not been effective in controlling sugar, so “diabetics need more medication and insulin. “And insulin injections lead to weight gain, which further increases blood sugar levels,” Jakubowicz recalls.
The researchers studied 29 participants with type 2 diabetes and compared a new ‘3M diet’, more in line with the biological clock, with a control group in the traditional ‘6M diet’. The experimental diet includes bread and fruits in the early morning hours; a substantial lunch; and a small dinner that is specifically lacking in carbohydrates, sweets, and fruits.
The group in the traditional diet did not lose weight and did not experience any improvement in sugar levels, requiring an increase in medication and insulin doses. But the ‘3M diet’ group not only lost weight, but also experienced a substantial improvement in blood sugar levels.
Their need for diabetes medications, especially for insulin doses, was substantially reduced. Some were even able to stop using insulin altogether. In addition, the ‘3M diet’ improved the expression of the biological clock genes. This suggests that not only is it more effective in controlling diabetes, it can also prevent many other complications such as cardiovascular disease, aging and cancer, all of which are regulated by the biological clock genes,” insists Jakubowicz.
Increased gene expression of the biological clock in the ‘3M diet’ could be the mechanism behind its success, as it increases insulin secretion and improves the delivery of sugar to muscles, creating a balanced metabolism of day and night glucose. Researchers are now investigating the role that certain proteins play in the breakfast foods consumed by diabetics.