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Diabetics Benefit from Two Large Meals instead of Six Small Ones

Update Date: May 16, 2014 11:58 AM EDT

According to a new study, people with type 2 diabetes might benefit from changing up their eating schedules and meal sizes. The researchers from Prague reported that diabetics fared better health wise when they ate two large meals instead of six smaller ones.

For this study, the team from the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine recruited two groups of 27 people. The participants were between the ages of 30 and 70 and were all diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Both groups were given the same calorie diet at around 1,700 calories per day to follow for 12 weeks. In one group, called the B2 group, the participants ate the meals in two sittings. The first meal was eaten from 6:00 to 10:00 in the morning and the second was eaten from 12:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon. In the other group, called the A6 groups, the food was spread out into six smaller meals and eaten throughout the day.

"The patients were really afraid they would get hungry in the evening but feelings of hunger were lower as the patients ate until they were satisfied," lead scientist Dr. Hana Kahleova, at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine reported in BBC News. "But when they ate six times a day the meals were not leaving them feeling satisfied. It was quite surprising."

The researchers discovered that people from B2 ended up losing more weight and had lower levels of blood sugar when compared to the people from A6. The B2 group lost an average of three pounds more and lost an average of 1.5 inches more from their waistlines in comparison to the A6 group.

"Eating only breakfast and lunch reduced body weight, liver fat content, fasting plasma glucose, C-peptide and glucagon, and increased OGIS, more than the same caloric restriction split into six meals. These results suggest that, for type 2 diabetic patients on a calorie-restricted diet, eating larger breakfasts and lunches may be more beneficial than six smaller meals during the day," the authors reported according to the press release. "Novel therapeutic strategies should incorporate not only the energy and macronutrient content but also the frequency and timing of food. Further larger scale, long-term studies are essential before offering recommendations in terms of meal frequency."

The researchers believe that the findings could apply to non-diabetic people who want to lose weight. However, more research should be conducted to determine if eating two large meals still yield health benefits over a long period of time. The study was published in Diabetologia.

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