Inspired living

The diabetes breakfast


Diabetes is frequently talked about in this news column because it is a burgeoning health problem around the world. Breakfast is also a regular topic as the research continues to show that eating a good breakfast has a range of health benefits. Now these two popular topics have come together in a new study that has shown that people with type 2 diabetes can benefit from a big breakfast.

It has already been shown in previous research that people who eat breakfast regularly tend to have a lower body mass index than those who skip it and they also tend to have better blood glucose control. The new study sought to go a step further and analyse how the size and composition of breakfast impacts blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.

The study involved overweight or obese non-insulin dependent people with type 2 diabetes. The subjects were split into two groups, both groups were on low kilojoule anti-diabetes diets but they had very different breakfasts. One group had a big breakfast that contributed 33 per cent of their daily kilojoules while the other group had a small breakfast that contributed only 12.5 per cent of total daily kilojoules. The big breakfast also provided a higher percentage of daily protein and fat.

After 13 weeks it was found that those who had the big breakfast experienced greater reductions in blood pressure and HbA1c (a measure of long term blood sugar) than the small breakfast group. Additionally among the big breakfast group 31 per cent of subjects were able to reduce their medication dose while none in the small breakfast group were able to do this. By contrast 17 per cent of the small breakfast group actually increased their medication dose compared to only three per cent in the big breakfast group.

It was also found that big breakfast group reported less hunger and less preoccupation with food.

It seems that the big breakfast is probably promoting release of hormones like ghrelin that lead to feeling satiated. The end result is better food choices through the day and better blood glucose control.

This is not a license for diabetics to tuck into pancakes and syrup for breakfast but it is an indication yet again that a substantial breakfast of well-chosen healthy foods has long term metabolic effects throughout the day.


Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.