Weight Loss

Breakfast Can Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes

People with Type 2 diabetes who skip breakfast and wait to eat until lunchtime will likely experience sharp sugar spikes after lunch and dinner, a new study reports.

According to a Reuters article, the study included 10 women and 12 men with diabetes, all of whom were defined as obese and averaged 57 years old in age. The participants were instructed to fast overnight and would come into the clinic and eat either two or three meals – the meal to be skipped was breakfast. After two or four weeks, the two groups of participants were switched and given the opposite instructions; those who ate two meals were instructed to eat three, and those who ate three were instructed to eat two.

When participants skipped breakfast, their blood sugar levels were 40% higher after lunch and 25% higher after dinner compared to readings of those who ate three meals a day. Researchers deduced that the body of someone who skips breakfast struggles to convert blood sugar into energy. Lead study author Daniela Jakubowicz, Professor of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel, says that pancreatic beta cells remain inactive for so long that they essentially forget their function and don’t release insulin in a timely manner when lunchtime rolls around.

A metabolic diseases researcher from France who was not involved with the study pointed out in the article that the study’s results may not be specific to breakfast. For example, dinner the night before may influence glycemic readings the next day, regardless of whether breakfast is eaten or not. Instead, she suggests the span of time between dinner and breakfast could be a factor that the study did not take into account.

The morning is a rushed time for many Americans, and it can be easy to roll out of bed without a meal, or to grab a less-than-calorically-ideal-pastry near the office. While nutritionists agree that it is good for your waistline to take time to consume a meal, that isn’t always possible for many of us. This study seems to indicate, however, that it’s better to eat something in a bit of a rush than eat nothing at all, especially if that something is nutritious.

Some strategies to consider to avoid skipping breakfast include:

-Prepare an easy-to-carry breakfast waiting on the counter or in the fridge the night before.
-Move away from sit-down or to-be-prepared options for breakfast, like cereal or scrambled eggs. Make something in advance that you can eat right away that has some nutritional staying power, like an already peeled hardboiled egg.
-Nutritious smoothies, made the night before, can pack much of what the body craves for breakfast in a sippable to-go cup. Add yogurt, milk, fruit, and whey powder, and you’re good to go. (Smoothies tend to thicken overnight, so be prepared to add a splash of milk in the morning.)
-Some employers in casual office environments, including those here at the publishing house of Type 2 Nation, don’t mind if you occasionally eat your breakfast at your desk.
-When all else fails, a spoonful of peanut butter out the door is better than nothing.

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.

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