In a new study from Tel Aviv University, researchers are warning type 2 diabetics that skipping breakfast can have long-term consequences when it comes to blood sugar. With more Americans choosing to skip breakfast, the new warning coming from researchers is that you really need to start eating breakfast because there are real negative health implications from skipping the most important meal of the day.
Skipping breakfast has already been linked to obesity and cardiovascular problems within the United States, but now diabetics might be putting their health at even higher risk by skipping breakfast. This was one of the first studies to show that there was an impact between diabetics and choosing to skip the morning meal, especially if the diabetic is waiting until after noon to eat anything. What happens is that when you are fasting until noon, it triggers a blood sugar response, which spikes your blood sugar, and this is known as postprandial hyperglycemia. Researchers say that postprandial hyperglycemia impairs insulin response of the type 2 diabetics, which then changes and impairs the insulin response for the rest of the day. The lead researcher of this study is Professor Daniela Jakubowicz and Professor Julio Wainstein of the Wolfson Medical Center’s Diabetes Unit. Other researchers involved in the study included Professor Oren Froy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Professor Bo Ahrén of Lund University in Sweden.
This new study was just published in Diabetes Care and was presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting that was held in Boston, MA. Professor Jakubowicz said that “Despite the fact that many studies have previously demonstrated the benefits of a high-caloric breakfast for weight loss and to regulate the glucose metabolism, very little was known regarding the effect of skipping breakfast on glycemic spikes after meals throughout the entire day.” Leaving out breakfast is associated with a significant increase in blood sugar spikes for the entire day, which is pretty remarkable when thinking about how breakfast impacts type 2 diabetics. Not eating breakfast and also fasting until noon on a daily basis also affects the HbA1C levels, which is the three-month average of blood glucose levels.
For this study, 22 type-2 diabetics were participants, and all of the participants averaged in age of 56.9 years of age. All of the participants had a body mass index average of about 28.2 kg/m2. Throughout a two-day study, the participants consumed the same number of calories and the same balanced meal. The meal consisted of milk, tuna, bread, and a chocolate breakfast bar, and this was both for lunch and dinner. One day the participants ate breakfast and the other day the participants had fasted until lunch time. The researchers had theorized that not eating breakfast would be unhealthy, but they did not think that the glucose metabolism would deteriorate to the levels that it did simply due to the participants not eating breakfast. The researchers found out that the participants had experienced significant glucose level peaks of 268 mg/dl after lunch and then 298 mg/dl after dinner on the days the participants did not have breakfast. This was compared to 192 mg/dl for lunch and 215 mg/dl for dinner on the days that the participants did have breakfast, which is a pretty big jump just from one day eating breakfast and one day skipping breakfast. Essentially, this meant that reducing the sugars and starch during lunch or dinner would not really effect the glucose levels if that person had skipped breakfast.
The researchers said that the pancreatic beta cells had lost their “memory” because there was such a long period in between the dinner the night before and lunch the next day. This means that these pancreatic beta cells forgot their vital role in the body, which meant it took time after lunch for the beta cells to then recover. This prolonged recovery period caused a huge delay in insulin response, and this then resulted in a significant elevated blood sugar, and this lasted throughout the entire day. There is also the issue that fasting until noon increased the fatty acids in the blood, and this makes the insulin ineffective in reducing the blood glucose levels. The researchers are telling type 2 diabetics that they should start eating breakfast and stop skipping this meal, especially if they are either a brittle diabetic or a diabetic who often has high blood glucose levels. The damage is pretty major that occurs to the pancreatic beta cells, and this leads to all of the time high levels of blood sugar, even if the diabetic has a small lunch and dinner. The researchers are going to do another study similarly, but using type 1 diabetics, and they require the daily insulin treatment to manage their disease. The researchers are excited to see if the same result is seen between the type 1 diabetics and the type 2 diabetics.
The interesting part about this study is that it shows that diabetics need to focus on other things besides just how many sugars and starches they are eating for dinner and lunch. What this study shows is that people need to begin looking at what time of the day they are eating, and then are making sure they begin eating on a regular schedule, which includes breakfast. The key too is not to eat too much in the morning, since that can also raise blood sugar, but it seems that eating a moderate breakfast will not do as much damage as not eating at all. If the researchers end up seeing the same results with type 1 diabetics, then this could help people in terms of finding a more appropriate treatment plan for their diabetes, which could include incorporating better eating habits. If diabetics start eating breakfast and they can get better control over their blood sugar levels, then it is likely they will not need to move onto more advanced medications, and it could also help prevent the horrible effects of the disease later in life.