Six meals a day may be better than three for those who weigh too much

All 47 partipants in the study were given the same calorie count, which was designed to maintain their weight – in order to identify the impact of the regime on diabetes alone.

Separate studies have shown that extreme weight loss can reverse diabetes.

But all those in the study reported significantly reduced hunger levels and less desire to eat after following the six-meal plan compared to when they were eating three meals per day.

The new research, presented at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal was by the University of Athens.

Lead author Dr Emilia Papakonstantinou said: “Our 24-week weight maintenance study showed that using a six-meal pattern instead of three-meal, while containing the same overall calories, improved blood sugar control and reduced hunger in obese people with prediabetes or full-blown diabetes.

“These results suggest that increased frequency of meals, consumed at regular times, may be a useful tool for doctors treating subjects with obesity and diabetes or prediabetes, especially those who are reluctant or unsuccessful dieters.”

One in three adults in the UK are classed as having pre-diabetes – putting them at risk of the serious condition, while two in three are overewight or obese.

A separate study published yesterday confirmed that type two diabetes can be reversed by going on a low calorie diet. The research found that consuming just 600 calories a day for eight weeks can reverse the condition caused by excess fat in the liver and pancreas.

The study confirmed a hypothesis that excess calories leads to excess fat in the liver – so that it responds poorly to insulin and produces too much glucose. Excess fat in the liver is passed on to the pancreas, causing the insulin producing cells to fail. Losing less than 1 gram of fat from the pancreas through diet can re-start the normal production of insulin, reversing Type 2 diabetes, the study found.

 

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