Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Eating several small meals throughout the day, rather than three larger ones — sometimes referred to as grazing — has often been touted as a way to lose weight. In theory, eating in a way that results in a steadier stream of nutrients in the bloodstream could have several positive effects. Past studies have, in fact, found that grazing can lead to lower levels of insulin in people without diabetes as well as lower blood levels of cholesterol. But when it comes to weight loss in people with diabetes, a new study suggests than grazing may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

The study, presented at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions late last month in Chicago, looked at 54 adults with Type 2 diabetes over 12 weeks. According to an article at NBC News (the study is not yet published), each participant was assigned to a meal plan that cut his or her daily caloric intake by 500 calories. Some participants, though, had this food spread over six small meals, while others received only two larger meals each day: breakfast and lunch. At the end of the 12 weeks, both groups had lost weight. But the two-meal group had lost more weight than the six-meal group, as measured by body-mass index (BMI). While the average drop in BMI in the two-meal group was 1.23 points, it was only 0.82 points in the six-meal group.

Of course, weight loss achieved within the controlled setting of a study does not always translate into weight loss in real life. As the NBC article notes, many people may feel unable to skip dinner due to either hunger or social pressure. It is not known, of course, whether the benefit seen in the study from two meals could be achieved with three meals, or by shifting the timing of the two meals to include either breakfast or lunch and dinner. (As we noted in a previous Diabetes Flashpoints post, the timing of meals can have a significant effect on the metabolism of some people.) Another practical concern for the real world is that grazing may be more difficult to monitor or control than preplanned meals. If portions are as small as a handful of nuts, it may be easy to add extra portions throughout the day that may be insignificant individually, but add up to many extra calories.

Have you tried grazing in an attempt to lose weight? If so, was the strategy successful? Did you notice any other benefits, such as better blood glucose control, that might make grazing worthwhile even without weight loss? On the other side, have you tried eating only two meals a day to lose weight? Do you think this kind of schedule would be sustainable for you, or is it just as feasible to adjust to two meals as to six? Leave a comment below!

POST A COMMENT       
  

Comments
  1. I am a Type 1 so it would have been nice to say this Article was about a T2 Trial.

    As a Type 1, I do not graze at all; as for loosing weight I have found that it is the choice and amount of foods [no fast foods all the time], and the type of carbs — to be able to loose weight.

    I have a family member as a T2 who was always eating something.But her family finally was able to convince her to eat less and a healthy meal plan 3 times a day. She did and has lost weight and now has good control with her medication as a Type 2.

    Posted by joan |
  2. I cannot eat just two meals a day because of my medications. Several have to be taken with meals and I have to eat something at h.s. with my meds. I have not tried grazing but have always had 3 meals plus bedtime snack. We eat our dinner at noon and always have a good breakfast. Supper is our smallest meal plus I only eat what is required for my bedtime meals which isn’t much. I eat 2 soda crackers (free food) and a string cheese.

    Posted by Ferne |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Flashpoints
Uncoordinated Care (04/23/14)
Doctor Payments Revealed (04/16/14)
The Costs of Innovation (04/09/14)
Diabetes to Go (04/02/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.


Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Get a FREE ISSUE
Subscription questions