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Two Meals Better Than 6 for Type 2 Diabetes?

Small meals

The latest diabetes-related research suggests that those who have Type 2 diabetes may reap more benefit from eating two large meals a day, rather than the traditional view of six smaller meals. Pippa Stephens from the BBC, reports that the new research from Prague was conducted using two samples sets of 27 people. One group was fed two meals a day – breakfast and lunch – and the other group was fed six smaller meals. The number of calories contained in both groups’ meals were equal. At the end of the study, the volunteers who had been eating two meals a day were found to have lost more weight and have lower blood sugar levels. Previous diabetic diet regimes were based on the assumption that eating small amounts of food regularly would be more beneficial in controlling levels of blood sugar. The Czech research calls this into question.

How the study quantifies the new claim

Kathleen Lees details the specific nature of the tests. The study was undertaken by researchers at the Diabetes Centre, at the Institute for Experimental and Clinical Medicine in Prague. Researchers selected “54 patients between the ages of 30 and 70. Participants were initially divided into two equal groups, and followed a diet that either consisted of six smaller meals or two larger ones, both containing around 1,700 calories, to include 50-55% of energy from carbohydrate and under 30% of energy from fat. Three months later, the groups switched their diet regimens.”  Diabetes.co.uk noted that although all participants lost some weight, “the 2 meal diet was more effective, resulting in an average 3.7kg weight loss compared with a 2.3kg weight loss on the 6 meal diet.” Those on the two meal diet also experienced greater improvement in fasting plasma glucose levels. The study also noted that “reductions in HbA1c were modestly improved in both groups by around 0.25% (3 mmol/mol).”

Drug assistance

In South Africa, this new research could be used to great effect following last year’s announcement that the canagliflozin drug would be made available to treat those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Jo Willey reports that the drug, also known as Invokana, “cuts blood sugar levels in people for who diet and lifestyle measures or other blood sugar-lowering medicines do not work well enough” and “blocks the re-absorption of glucose in the kidneys, which is instead passed in the urine.” Whilst the drug’s availability in Africa, America and Asia was confirmed last year, it has only just recently been approved for use in the European Union, where it is being hailed as an important and welcome announcement for those with Type 2 diabetes. Center Watch reports that research is underway in multiple global locations, including several in South Africa, “assess the effectiveness of the co-administration of canagliflozin and Type 2 diabetes medication (pills) extended release (XR) compared with canagliflozin alone, and Type 2 diabetes medication (pills) XR alone in patients with Type 2 diabetes.” This study is sponsored by the drug’s manufacturer, Janssen, and aims to be completed in 11 months.

According to Diabetes.co.uk, “people who are diagnosed with a chronic physical health problem such as diabetes are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than people without it.” Prescribed anti-depressants are a common treatment for depression, but can have negative effects, including addiction. There is plenty of guidance available online to help friends and family find the right support and treatment for a loved one. Rehabilitation organisation, We Do Recover, run a number of rehabilitation centres across South Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.

Whilst the new developments in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes is undoubtedly welcome news to those with the condition, as well as their friends and family. It should be borne in mind, however, that the research in Prague was undertaken with a relatively small sample set. A great deal of further study needs to be undertaken to refine what has been learned from that study. Likewise, although canagliflozin has been made available, research into its use, and its use as combined with other drugs is ongoing. Despite this, there is no doubt that treatment for Type 2 diatbetes is most definitely looking up.

– by Lily McCann

References

“2 larger meals beats 6 much smaller meals for type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes.co.uk. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/news/2014/may/2-larger-meals-beats-6-much-smaller-meals-for-type-2-diabetes-95702186.html (accessed May 17, 2014).

“Addiction, Durban.” Johannesburg Rehab Centre. http://wedorecover.com/sa-rehab-centres/johannesburg.html (accessed May 17, 2014).

“Clinical Trial Details.” A clinical trial to evaluate treatments using Canagliflozin 100 mg, Canagliflozin 300 mg and Type 2 diabetes medication (pills) XR for patients with Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2. http://www.centerwatch.com/clinical-trials/listings (accessed May 17, 2014).

“Diabetes and Depression.” Diabetes.co.uk. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-and-depression.html (accessed May 17, 2014).

Lees, Kathleen. “Could Two Large Meals Help Better Manage Type 2 Diabetes than Six Snacks?.” Science World Report. http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/14765/20140516/could-two-large-meals-help-better-manage-type-2-diabetes-than-six-snacks.htm (accessed May 17, 2014).

“News.” Latest Data for Type 2 Diabetes Treatment INVOKANA (canagliflozin) to be Presented at American Diabetes Association Annual Meeting. https://www.jnj.com/news/all/latest-data-for-type-2-diabetes-treatment-invokana-canagliflozin-to-be-presented-at-american-diabetes-association-annual-meeting (accessed May 17, 2014).

Stephens, Pippa. “Two meals a day ‘effective’ to treat type 2 diabetes.” BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27422547 (accessed May 17, 2014).

“Your Guide to Xanax Detox Centers and Programs” Detox.net. http://www.detox.net/articles/xanax-detox/ (accessed May 17, 2014).

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.