Big Breakfast May Be Best for Diabetes Patients
Study found morning meal rich in protein, fat actually curbed hunger, helped control blood sugar levels
The people eating a big breakfast also found themselves less hungry later in the day.
"As the study progressed, we found that hunger scores increased significantly in the small breakfast group while satiety scores increased in the big breakfast group," study co-author Dr. Hadas Rabinovitz, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said in a news release from the association. "In addition, the big breakfast group reported a reduced urge to eat and a less preoccupation with food, while the small breakfast group had increased preoccupation with food and a greater urge to eat over time."
Rabinovitz speculated that a big breakfast rich in protein causes suppression of ghrelin, which is known as the "hunger hormone."
The protein in the breakfast also likely helped control the patients' blood sugar levels, said Vandana Sheth, a certified diabetes instructor and registered dietitian in Los Angeles and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"We know when you eat carbohydrates, they can elevate blood sugar within 15 minutes to an hour," Sheth said. "Protein takes longer to convert into glucose, as long as three hours, and not all of it goes to glucose. Some of it is used to repair muscle, for example. So it's not a direct effect -- 100 percent of the carbs you eat convert to glucose, while only a portion of protein you eat converts to glucose."
Zonszein said he has concerns about the study. For example, he said both the size and the length of the trial were insufficient, and he questioned why so many participants left before its conclusion.
However, he said the results were impressive enough that he might try the dietary strategy out in his own practice.
"It's a virtually benign manipulation of the meal pattern," Zonszein said. "I want to give it to my nutritionist to see what she thinks, and we may end up using it with several of our patients."
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.