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Is it Better to Have Large or Small Meals for Diabetes?

Perhaps you've heard the conventional dietary advice that it's better to have several smaller meals or snacks throughout the day to better regulate blood sugar levels.

And maybe you've read this post from the Miracle Noodle Weight Loss Blog about meal frequency. 

Regardless what you've heard, a new study argues that more frequent smaller meals may not be what the doctor ordered, at least when it comes to improving diabetes. 

The new study (which was published online at Diabetologia) concludes that snacks in Western society are almost always not healthy; most people who snack a couple times a day are doing so with chips, crackers, cookies and other less-than-ideally-nutritious foods. 

It doesn't take a medical study to reach that obvious conclusion. Even if a chip is baked or a cracker is gluten-free or a cookie is made with agave, these common snacks are empty calories. The only healthy snacks are those that involve fruits or vegetables and natural fats, celery and almond butter, for example (for more healthy snack ideas, read this Miracle Noodle Blog).

The online study concluded that eating a larger breakfast and lunch--but skipping dinner!--led to a reduction in weight on average, and had less hepatic fat and lower blood glucose, fasting insulin, and fasting glucagon than those who were consuming 6 smaller meals.

A caveat of this study, however: it was a very small one, with only 54 subjects involved, so further testing is required to confirm. 

That being said, some of us on the Miracle Noodle Team like to conduct self-experiments and see what nutrition regimens lead to greater weight loss. 

Jonathan Carp, M.D., Miracle Noodle's President, once thought that in order to maintain steady energy throughout the day, it was optimal to eat every four hours. But as he later learned, your body can in fact go several hours without eating, as long as when you're eating, you're eating super-dense nutritious foods, meaning lots of leafy greens and natural fats to keep blood sugar levels steady. (If you're exercising at a strenuous pace, it may be necessary for you to consume simple carbohydrates to keep blood glucose levels stable.)

The promising data from this study was that with two larger breakfast and lunches per day, of approximately the same calorie count, blood glucagon levels were reduced. Even diabetes drugs have a hard time lowering glucagon levels, concluded the researchers. 

That's promising news, even if it was a small study. 

Stay diligent with monitoring your blood sugar levels if you're going to drastically switch your nutrition regimen, however. As always, consult with a trusted medical professional or functional nutritionist if you have any questions. 

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