Diet is a crucial factor to leading a healthy lifestyle, and an essential part for type 2 diabetes patients to live with the disease. Many of us have been taught to believe that eating in small meals have always been a better, healthier option than eating big meals. As a result, most diabetic patients are told to follow diet plans that include 3 big meals and 3 snacks a day.
To study the effect of two different diets, a research was conducted recently by researchers in Prague and Italy. It was done to compare the effect of two diet plans: eating 2 big meals a day, and eating 6 small meals a day. The result obtained was contrary to the popular belief that eating small meals is healthier, especially for type 2 diabetes patients.
54 patients who are taking oral medications for diabetes were studied in the research. These patients have had type 2 diabetes for more than a year. The type 2 diabetes patients, age 30 to 70 years, were asked to follow two different diet plans, each for a period of 12 weeks.
- 6 small meals which include breakfast, lunch, dinner and three light snacks
- 2 big meals, which are breakfast (taken between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and lunch (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
Both diet plans contained the same calories and nutrients. It is important to note that the diet plans contained 500 calories less than the recommended daily amount for each individual.
Weight loss was observed in both diets. However, those who followed the 2-meal plan had lost more weight. On average, the 2-meal plan led to a weight loss of 8.2 pounds while the 6-meal plan led to a weight loss of 5 pounds.
Although blood sugar levels reduced for both diets, the blood sugar levels went were lower in individuals who were eating the 2-meal diet.
Researchers then suggested that the weight loss and blood sugar levels may also apply to anyone on a 2-meal diet, not just type 2 diabetes patients. However, there is yet to be a conclusive study on the hypothesis above but the research findings already gives a good indication of how type 2 diabetes patients can benefit from two larger meals a day.