An international team of researchers, led by experts from the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus, has uncovered a simple, effective strategy to help people living with Type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels better.
The groundbreaking study, conducted by Dr. Barbara Oliveira and her team at UBCO's Exercise, Metabolism and Inflammation Lab, suggests that switching to a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, and high-fat breakfast can significantly improve glucose control throughout the day.
“We’re not talking about a complete diet overhaul,” says Dr. Oliveira. “One of many complications for people living with T2D is rapid or large increases in blood glucose levels after a meal. Our research indicates a low-carbohydrate meal, first thing in the morning, seems to help control blood sugar throughout the day.”
The study found that by shifting from a traditional low-fat breakfast, like oatmeal, toast, and fruit, to a low-carb meal rich in protein and fat, such as eggs with bacon or cheese, participants experienced better blood sugar management for most of the day.
“Treatment strategies that can help lower post-meal glucose swings and rapid changes in glucose are crucial to managing this condition,” says Dr. Oliveira. “We’ve determined that if the first meal of the day is low-carb and higher in protein and fat we can limit hyperglycemic swings.”
Maintaining optimal glucose levels is crucial for reducing the complications associated with T2D, including inflammation and cardiovascular disease, which are major contributors to morbidity in patients with the condition.
“Having fewer carbs for breakfast not only aligns better with how people with T2D handle glucose throughout the day, but it also has incredible potential for people with T2D who struggle with their glucose levels in the morning,” she adds. “By making a small adjustment to the carb content of a single meal rather than the entire diet, we have the potential to increase adherence significantly while still obtaining significant benefits.”
The findings of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.