Participants in the first group (Bdiet) ate three meals: a large breakfast, medium-sized lunch and small dinner. Those in the second group (6Mdiet) consumed six small meals evenly spaced throughout the day, a diet often recommended for traditional diabetes management and weight loss.
Researchers examined participants’ overall glucose levels for 14 days at baseline, during the first two weeks on a diet and at the end of the study.
After three months, they found that participants in the Bdiet group lost 11 pounds. Those in the 6Mdiet group actually averaged a three-pound gain after three months.
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Researchers also noted that members of the Bdiet group needed significantly less insulin and had significantly fewer carbohydrate cravings compared to the 6Mdiet group.
Additionally, just two weeks into the study, the scientists noticed a significant reduction of overall glycemia on the Bdiet when participants had nearly the same weight as at baseline. This suggested that "a diet with adequate meal timing and frequency has a pivotal role in glucose control and weight loss," lead study author Daniela Jakubowicz and professor of medicine at Israel's Tel Aviv University, said in a news release.
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"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," Jakubowicz said.
"The hour of the day—when you eat and how frequently you eat—is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat," she added. "Our body metabolism changes throughout the day. A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening."
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In 2016, Jakubowicz and her team of researchers also concluded that a large whey protein breakfast may help people manage Type 2 diabetes.
“The whey protein diet significantly suppresses the hunger hormone ‘ghrelin.’ A whey protein drink is easily prepared and provides the advantages of a high-protein breakfast on weight loss, reduction of hunger, glucose spikes and HbA1c,” Jakubowicz said.
Other items to include in a high-energy breakfast, according to Harvard Health: high-fiber, whole-grain cereals and breads, steel-cut oatmeal, Greek yogurt or salmon.