According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, most being type 2 diabetics. The ADA also reports that 85.2 percent of those with type 2 diabetes are either obese or overweight. With type 2 diabetes, the body is not able to make use of insulin properly. This is known as insulin resistance. Although the pancreas manufactures extra insulin for the shortage, it’s not able to make enough to maintain normal levels of blood glucose.
Insulin is necessary in order for the body to utilize glucose for energy. As we eat, the body breaks down the starches and sugars from food and converts it into glucose. Specifically, insulin takes the sugar from the blood and transfers it to the body’s cells. With type 2 diabetes, there is a glucose build up in the blood instead. The cells become starved for energy, and high blood glucose levels can damage the heart, nerves, eyes and kidneys.
Best Eating Habits for Those with Type 2 Diabetes
Historically, it was recommended that those with type 2 diabetes eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. However, this approach hasn’t panned out well for those in Western societies. Most Western snacks are high in fat and sugar and are overall unhealthy. At the same time, new studies have revealed that eating fewer but larger meals may be more helpful for those with type 2 diabetes.
As a recent study published in Diabetologia revealed that the new approach with less, but larger meals resulted in fasting glucagon, fasting insulin, decreased blood glucose and less hepatic fat. According to Dr. Kahleova, this is promising news.
The Cross Trial Study
The study included 25 women and 29 men with type 2 diabetes ranging in ages from 30 to 70. Participants were required to follow a regimen of either one or two. All participants consumed 1,700 calories daily.
The first regimen followed the eating routine of six small meals a day. This continued for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, the group switched to the second regimen of just two large meals, including breakfast and lunch. Both regimens had the same caloric and micronutrient content.
The results were indisputable. Those in the two-large-meal regimen had more pronounced weight loss. The hepatic fat content was also less with those who consumed breakfast and lunch only. When comparing the fasting plasma glucagon, it was noted to be less when eating just two larger meals a day when compared to six small meals per day. Dr. Kahleova feels that this is an important finding, as it’s not easy to affect glucagon levels even with type 2 diabetes drugs.
This discovery may just change the way type 2 diabetes is handled. It’s a novel therapeutic strategy that the medical field is considering embracing in the treatment for those with type 2 diabetes.