Diabetes Forecast

Making Breakfast the Biggest Meal May Help Control Glucose All Day

What to Know

Even if you keep control of your blood glucose over time, spikes that occur after meals can raise your risk of heart and blood vessel disease and other complications. Eating the right foods is crucial to staying healthy, but the time of day you eat also plays a big role in these risk factors. An evening meal, for example, causes greater and longer lasting spikes than the same meal eaten earlier in the day. Researchers wanted to know if two different diets that provided the same calories but at different times of the day would affect glucose levels differently.

The Study

Eighteen adults with type 2 diabetes, divided into two groups, participated in the week-long study. Group one ate a 704 calorie breakfast (high) and a 205 calorie dinner (low). Group two ate the opposite. Both groups ate the same lunch (603 calories). Their glucose levels and the levels of hormones and enzymes that affect how the body processes food (insulin, C-peptide, and glucagon-like peptide-1 [GLP- 1]) were measured and compared.

The Results

Group one, who ate a higher calorie breakfast and a lower calorie dinner, had lower glucose levels and higher levels of insulin, C-peptide, and GLP-1 than group two. These levels remained steady both after the meals and throughout the day. Although both groups ate the same lunch, group one had lower glucose and higher insulin after lunch than group two. Overall, group one’s post-meal glucose spikes were less pronounced and dropped sooner than the spikes reported in group two.


If you make breakfast the day’s largest meal and dinner the smallest, you may be better able to control your glucose levels and avoid dangerous post-meal glucose spikes. Over time, this eating plan could lower your A1C (average glucose level over two to three months) and your risk of heart and blood vessel disease and other complications of type 2 diabetes. More study is needed, though, to compare the types of food eaten at each time of day in addition to calorie count.

High-energy breakfast with low-energy dinner decreases overall daily hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomised clinical trial, by Jakubowicz and colleagues. Diabetologia 2015;58:912 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-015-3524-9

The information on this screen does not take the place of care from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have general questions about diabetes or diabetes-related research, e-mail askada@diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2382).



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