Type 2 diabetics 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.
In a new study, researchers found that a starch-rich breakfast consumed early in the morning coupled with a small dinner could replace insulin injections and other diabetes medications for many diabetics.
The research was conducted by a team at Tel Aviv University and elsewhere
The traditional diabetic diet specifies six small meals spread throughout the day.
The team says the ‘6M-diet,’ as this is called, has not been effective for sugar control, so diabetics require additional medication and insulin.
And insulin injections lead to weight gain, which further increases blood sugar levels.
In the study, 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 team found 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.
The findings show that shifting the starch-rich calories to the early hours of the day can produce a glucose balance and improved glycemic control among type 2 diabetics.
The team believes 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 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.
The researchers are now examining the role certain proteins play in breakfast foods consumed by diabetics.
One author of the study is Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Wolfson Medical Center’s Diabetes Unit.
The study is published in Diabetes Care.
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