Results from a small study conducted at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom suggest that the consumption of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate snack before breakfast can help reduce after-breakfast blood glucose levels by nearly 40% in people with Type 2 diabetes. High blood glucose after meals is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in both people with Type 1 and those with Type 2 diabetes.
Previous research has shown that blood glucose levels are lower after the second meal of the day in people who have eaten breakfast. In the Newcastle study, researchers looked at 10 men and women with Type 2 diabetes controlling their condition either with diet or with a combination of diet and the diabetes medicine metformin. Their after-breakfast blood glucose levels were compared over the course of two days: one day in which the participants ate only breakfast, and another in which they ate a snack consisting of 30 grams of soya beans and 75 grams of yogurt two hours prior to breakfast.
The results showed that blood glucose levels two hours after breakfast were nearly 40% lower on the snack day when compared to the breakfast-only day. There did not appear to be a difference in the amount of insulin secreted after breakfast between the two days; the researchers suspect that the lower blood glucose levels can be attributed to the suppression of fasting plasma free fatty acid, the result of which is more glucose being stored in the muscles as glycogen.
The study authors note that further research is necessary to determine the optimal timing and composition of the snack, but suggest that their findings “can be applied simply and practically to improve postbreakfast hyperglycemia in people with type 2 diabetes.”