For patients with type 2 diabetes, eating more food at breakfast and lunch seems more beneficial than eating the same caloric restriction split into six small meals per day, according to a study published online in Diabetologia.

Hana Kahleova, M.D., from the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague, and colleagues compared the effect of six small (A6) and two large (B2) meals on body weight, hepatic fat content, insulin resistance, and beta cell function. Fifty-four patients with type 2 diabetes treated with oral hypoglycemic agents were randomized to 12 weeks of two regimens of a hypoenergetic diet, A6 and B2 (27 participants each).

The researchers found that body weight decreased significantly in both regimens, with a greater decrease for B2 (−2.3 kg) than for A6 (−2.0 kg; P < 0.001). In response to both regimens, hepatic fat content decreased significantly, with a greater decrease for B2 than A6 (−0.04 versus −0.03 percent; P = 0.009).

Continue Reading

In both regimens, fasting plasma glucose and C-peptide levels decreased significantly, with greater decreases for B2 (P = 0.004 and 0.04, respectively). There was a significant decrease in fasting plasma glucagon with the B2 regimen, and a significant increase with the A6 regimen. In both regimens, oral glucose insulin sensitivity increased significantly, more so for B2 (P = 0.01). No adverse effects were observed.

“These results suggest that, for type 2 diabetic patients on a hypoenergetic diet, eating larger breakfasts and lunches may be more beneficial than six smaller meals during the day,” the authors write.