Washington: Consuming a starch-rich breakfast early in the morning followed by a light dinner could replace insulin injections and other medications used by many diabetic patients, says a recent study. People diagnosed by Type 2 diabetics usually inject themselves with insulin, a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into liver, muscle and fat cells, up to four times a day.
But insulin injections are linked to weight gain and the loss of control of blood sugar levels. This triggers a vicious cycle of higher insulin doses, continuous weight gain, a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and other complications.
According to the research, our metabolism and biological clock are optimised for eating in the morning and for fasting during the evening and night, when we are supposed to be asleep. Prof Daniela Jakubowicz of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Wolfson Medical Center's Diabetes Unit, said: "But the usual diet recommended for Type 2 diabetes consists of several small meals evenly distributed throughout the day. For example, three meals and three snacks daily are including a snack before going to sleep to prevent a drop in sugar levels during the night."
The research was published in the journal of Diabetes Care.
According to Prof Jakubowicz, the traditional diabetic diet specifies six small meals spread throughout the day. "But our research proposes shifting the starch-rich calories to the early hours of the day. This produces a glucose balance and improved glycemic control among Type 2 diabetics."
Thus, explaining the reason behind this theory of diet, he said: "We believe that through this regimen, it will be possible for diabetics to significantly reduce or even stop the injections of insulin, and most of the antidiabetic medications, to achieve excellent control of glucose levels."
The researchers studied 29 Type 2 diabetes participants and compared a new '3M-diet,' more in alignment with our biological clock, with a control group on the traditional 6M-diet. The experimental 3M-diet comprises a meal of bread, fruits, and sweets in the early hours of the morning; a substantial lunch; and a small dinner specifically lacking starches, sweets, and fruits.
The group on the traditional 6M-diet did not lose weight and did not experience any improvement of sugar levels, requiring an increase in medication and insulin doses. But the group on the 3M-diet not only lost weight but also experienced substantially improved sugar levels. Prof Jakubowicz is of the view: "In addition, the 3M-diet improved the expression of biological clock genes. This suggests that 3M-diet is not only more effective in controlling diabetes."
The upregulation of the biological clock gene expression in the 3M-diet might be the mechanism behind its success, as it enhances insulin secretion and improves sugar delivery into the muscles, creating a balanced daytime and nocturnal glucose metabolism.