We are all aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So not having breakfast for sure is considered a bad idea.
However, this is especially bad for people that have type 2 diabetes according to recent research. For people who have type 2 diabetes skipping the most important meal can actually cause havoc on their levels of blood sugar.
There was a small clinical trial about the effect that breakfast has on people with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers came to the discovery that when people did not have breakfast, they had levels of blood sugar at lunchtime up to 37 % higher when compared to the day they had breakfast.
Not only at lunchtime, but also at dinner time their levels of blood sugar were still higher, but now around 27 %.
According to the lead author of the study, Tel Aviv University’s medicine professor, Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, this is critical because skipping breakfast over the past decades especially in Western society has progressively increased.
Also, Dr. Jakubowicz notes that high blood sugar is firmly linked to the fast decline in the function of the beta-cells. What are the beta-cells?
These cells are found in the pancreas, and these specific cells make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is crucial for our body to use carbs as fuel.
The Best Option – Big Breakfast and Small Dinner
Dr. Jakubowicz also mentioned that the peaks of high blood sugar are related to the early development of complications of heart disease. According to this doctor and her team consuming a large breakfast and small dinner is the best option and it also can be beneficial.
According to one study published in Diabetologia, people that had a big breakfast and small dinner had 20 % lower levels of blood sugar compared to those people that had a small and light breakfast and a big dinner.
In the new study, there were 22 participants with type 2 diabetes. Their average age was around 57 years. And their BMI i.e. body mass index was actually more than 28.
What is BMI? The BMI can roughly estimate the body fat in an individual. So, a BMI of 28 actually means that the individual is not obese, but overweight.
For 2 days the participants consumed the same food at every meal. That was a chocolate breakfast bar, milk, bread, and tuna.
One day they consumed 3 regular meals, which means they had breakfast, lunch, and also dinner. The second day they did not have breakfast, but still, they had their regular lunch and dinner.
When they consumed 3 meals, their average peak of glucose after lunch was around 192 mg per dL. According to the study, after dinner, their peak of glucose was 215 mg per dL.
However, on the day when the participants skipped breakfast, the average peak of glucose after lunch was up to 268 mg per dL, and after dinner, it was 298 mg per dL.
Bear in mind that the normal level of blood sugar is below 126 mg per dL. According to Dr. Jakubowicz, the beta cells lose memory because of a long fast.
The beta cells need extra time after lunch to recover, and that leads to a delay in insulin responses. The whole thing results in an exaggerated rise in the levels of blood glucose throughout the day when there is no breakfast.
According to Columbia University’s nutritionist, certified diabetes educator, Maudene Nelson, who did not participate in the study, by skipping breakfast, there are higher levels of secretion of glucagon which in turn raises the levels of blood sugar.
Which Foods to Consume
According to Dr.Daniela Jakubowicz, an essential component of breakfast is protein. She believes that it helps to feel full and to concentrate.
Nelson points out the good sources of protein such as beans, eggs, cottage cheese, and yogurt. Also, a good source is a tuna and low-sodium lean ham can be an occasional option.
According to Nelson cereals are not a good choice for breakfast for people that have type 2 diabetes, because they are low in fiber. What you can do is add whole grain or fruit to your breakfast.
The advice of Dr.Daniela Jakubowicz for people with type 2 diabetes is never to skip breakfast. It is still not clear if this would mean the same for people with type 1 diabetes.
Furthermore, pregnant women with diabetes i.e. gestational diabetes should avoid skipping meals. Not only for them, but this is not healthy for the baby, and also it can cause excessive weight gain.