Two meals a day ‘effective’ to treat type 2 diabetes

Vegetables and fruit

Scientists prescribed two meals a day rich in fruit, vegetables and fibre

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Only eating breakfast and lunch may be more effective at managing type 2 diabetes than eating smaller, more regular meals, scientists say.

Researchers in Prague fed two groups of 27 people the same calorie diet spread over two or six meals a day.

They found volunteers who ate two meals a day lost more weight than those who ate six, and their blood sugar dropped.

Experts said the study supported “existing evidence” that fewer, larger meals were the way forward.

Timing important?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, which controls the amount of sugar in the blood, meaning blood sugar levels become too high.

Larger studies over longer periods of time will be needed to back up these findings before we would change advice”

Dr Richard ElliottDiabetes UK

If untreated, it can lead to heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, light-sensitive eyes and kidney disease.

About 2.9 million people in the UK are affected by diabetes, 90% of whom have the type 2 form of the disease.

Current advice in the UK recommends three meals a day, with healthy snacks.

Scientists at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague divided a group of 54 volunteers aged 30 to 70 with type 2 diabetes into two groups of 27 people.

Volunteers were then given either a six-meal-a-day diet (A6) for 12 weeks followed by a two-meal day diet (B2), or vice versa.

The study compared two meals with six meals – as the latter accorded with current practice advice in the Czech Republic, researchers said.

Each diet contained on average 1,700 calories a day.

‘Very pleasing’ result

The B2 group ate between 06:00 and 10:00 and then between 12:00 and 16:00, and the A6 group ate their food throughout the day.

Weight loss for the B2 group averaged 1.4kg (3lb) more than A6, and they lost about 4cm (1.5in) more from their waistlines.

Lead scientist Dr Hana Kahleova, at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, said the results were “very pleasing”.

She said: “The patients were really afraid they would get hungry in the evening but feelings of hunger were lower as the patients ate until they were satisfied.

“But when they ate six times a day the meals were not leaving them feeling satisfied. It was quite surprising.”

‘Larger studies needed’

Dr Kahleova said the study could apply to people without diabetes who were trying to lose weight.

Dr Richard Elliott, research communications officer at Diabetes UK, said the study added to evidence that eating fewer, larger meals a day could be more effective than smaller, frequent meals at helping people manage their condition.

He added: “However, larger studies over longer periods of time will be needed to back up these findings before we would make changes to the dietary advice given to people with type 2 diabetes.”

Dr Elliot said eating a healthy, balanced diet, being active and maintaining a healthy weight, alongside taking any medication was “vital” to effectively manage the condition.

Should we be nuts about coconut?

Should we be nuts about coconut?

It feels like coconut is the flavour of the moment in healthy food circles. Coconut oil is all the rage, and a raft of other coconut products have come along, many promoted as healthful. There are some ingredients I really like, and some I think are not worth the hype.

Coconut flour

This is a by-product of coconut milk production. What’s great is that it’s about 40 per cent fibre, mostly insoluble fibre which is really helpful to keep things “moving”. One tablespoon adds over 3 grams of fibre, so it’s a great addition to smoothies, crumbles and baking. Coconut flour absorbs liquid, so when using some in baking you’ll need to add a similar amount of liquid as well.

Coconut water

This is the juice from the centre of immature green coconuts. It has a slightly sweet, coconut taste. According to some online hype, it is a cure for everything from intestinal worms to wrinkles.

This is highly unlikely. However, it still has a lot going for it. It’s a refreshing drink, and has less than half the kilojoules and less sugar than most juice. Like other fruit juices, coconut water also contains useful amounts of potassium, which is good for blood pressure.

Often promoted as a sports drink, it could be used for after-sport hydration, although those serious about their sport might prefer a proper sports drink formulated with more carbohydrates and sodium.

Coconut sugar

This is made from the flowers of the coconut palm, and has a pleasant, treacle-like flavour. Producers claim it is packed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. However, unless you are consuming vast amounts of sugar (obviously not ideal) the amounts of vitamins and minerals in coconut sugar are insignificant. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

Coconut sugar is more than 90 per cent carbohydrates and contains less than 2g protein per 100g. If you like the flavour (and can afford it) then use it for taste and don’t overdo it. Too much of any kind of sugar is not healthy.

Coconut oil

Last but not least, the oil of the moment. Many claims are made about the medium-chain saturated fats – mainly lauric acid – which make up about two-thirds of the saturated fats in coconut oil. It’s said these are not harmful, although evidence on this is at best conflicting.

Remember that “less harmful” is not the same as “health food”. The way some are enthusiastically embracing coconut oil as if it has medicinal (or fat-busting) properties is a little alarming.

Simply adding spoonfuls of coconut oil to your regular diet is not going to make you healthier – it could well do the opposite. If you like the strong coconut flavour, use coconut oil sparingly, as you would butter.

I prefer to use oils I know are healthy like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and macadamia oil for cooking – and I’d much rather have my saturated fat in the form of a little bit of cheese or chocolate.


CSU professor dishes on writing ‘The Paleo Diet’

CSU professor dishes on writing ‘The Paleo Diet’

Josie Sexton, FTC 12:16 a.m. MDT May 5, 2014
-FTC0505-ll-Paleo Diet01.JPG_20140502.jpg

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., a retired CSU professor who authored ‘The Paleo Diet,’ poses for a portrait in his office Friday in Fort Collins.(Photo: Erin Hull/The Coloradoan)

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., retired in December after 32 years as a professor at CSU, where he specialized in nutritional anthropology. He lives in south Fort Collins with his wife and youngest son, and from his home office, he works with his last graduate student at CSU and with a handful of scientists from around the world who have asked him to co-author their publications.

Cordain is still in high demand following his 2002 book “The Paleo Diet,” in which he recommended that modern humans eat like their Paleolithic ancestors, with meat and fish, fresh vegetables, fruit and nuts. That book’s publication spawned a devout following, three more books and a website that attracts 1 million visitors each month. Cordain has already sold more than 500,000 copies of his first four publications, and he is working on another cookbook, set to publish in 2015.

The Coloradoan sat down with Cordain in his Fort Collins home, where he showed us a few of the most recent scientific papers on the topic, as well as his own research … and even the contents of his refrigerator.

In his basement “man cave,” Cordain keeps 25 years of research on his caveman diet, all of it still in paper boxes following retirement. In the corner of the den is a large freezer filled with cuts of bison, deer, elk, blue grouse and pheasant and their organs — liver and tongue. Meat is one of the staples of the paleo diet Cordain writes about and practices at home.

Coloradoan: What else does paleo entail?

Cordain: What we’re trying to do is to mimic the food groups that our ancestors ate: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, nuts.

If you were to go back here to Colorado 200 years ago, everybody ate in a similar manner. … They didn’t have cereal grains, they didn’t have any refined sugars, and they had no processed foods. When you think about that, 70 percent of the calories in a typical U.S. diet come from four foods that hunter-gatherers never ate: refined sugars, refined grains, refined vegetable oil and dairy products.

Coloradoan: Essentially, processed foods. But what about legumes?

Cordain: Legumes are not part of (the paleo diet), and the reason for that is because legumes are inedible unless they’re cooked. We simply can’t assimilate the starch, because it has to be broken down … also legumes have considerable toxic components, for instance raw red kidney beans will make you very, very ill.

Coloradoan: How do celiac disease and gluten intolerance play into paleo?

Cordain: Now, we’re looking at a relative epidemic of people who don’t do well with wheat and gluten-containing grains. So why is that? Because we simply as a species have not had sufficient time evolutionarily to adapt to a non-traditional food. … I think it lends support to the idea that we don’t have a (nutritional) wheat requirement. When you look at wheat or any grain and compare it to fresh fruits or vegetables or fish, it comes out almost at the bottom in the 13 vitamins and minerals that are most lacking in the U.S. diet. Why would you want to deliberately eat a food that dilutes the vitamin and mineral content of your diet?

Coloradoan: (Cordain initially read about paleo nutrition in an article published by Dr. Boyd Eaton in the New England Journal of Medicine.) What was so novel about Eaton’s concept?

Cordain: He wrote that in 1985, and I got around to reading it in ’87, and I thought, this is just about the best idea I’ve seen on diet and health. (Before paleo), what we had thought about what was healthy eating came from humans, so “experts” who knew what we should and should not be eating … that’s where the information had always come from. And humans are fallible.

(The paleo) diet is based on our genes, and so the concept that Boyd had brought up is that if you go backward in time, it’s kind of like peeling an onion, you get to a point where everything we eat now and consider normal didn’t exist. And if you can appreciate it on an evolutionary timescale, 10,000 years ago seems to be historically remote, but it’s only about 300 human generations ago. Once you go back 10,000 years, everybody on the planet was a hunter-gatherer and had been for 2.5 million years. Even though my name is associated with it, I didn’t invent this diet. What we did was simply uncover what was pre-existing.

Coloradoan: You didn’t set out to create a diet craze. What did you consider the paleo diet?

Cordain: A lifetime program of healthy eating to reduce your risk of chronic disease.

That’s one reason why it’s gained so much traction, is that it works. I think it’s the 21st-century version of what we now believe to be one of the healthiest ways to eat. Back in the ’70s and ’80s when I was growing up, we thought it was a vegan/vegetarian diet. And I think there will never be agreement on what people should and should not eat … but this is an idea whose time has come, and we now have experimental confirmation.

More information




Bulletproof Coffee

‘Bulletproof Coffee’ Trend for Paleo Dieters

You can’t deny that you love the creaminess of butter, but do you love it enough to add it to your morning cup of coffee?

Butter adds creaminess to coffee, but may not offer the health benefits ‘paleo’ dieters expect.
You butter your toast; you put milk in your coffee. Ever been curious about what these two would taste like together? “Bulletproof coffee” is a new trend that is gaining popularity within the “paleo” diet community, people who follow a caveman-type eating style containing mostly animal proteins and fats. The recipe for the drink calls for a couple of tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter and a coconut-palm oil blend called medium chain triglycerides (MCT). This combination supposedly boosts energy, promotes weight loss, and increases brainpower. It also cuts out some of the bitter flavor from the coffee itself. One cup contains 100-200 calories, depending on the amount of butter added. Madelyn Fernstorm, diet and nutrition editor for NBC’s Today Show, says that the crazy-sounding combination is actually an ancient tradition in some parts of the world. Butter is, in fact, similar to cream, an ingredient in which many coffee drinkers indulge. Though it claims to help shed pounds, the recipe may promote weight gain if it is consumed daily, says Fernstorm. The idea that the drink will rev you up is probably psychosomatic; there is no proof that the body’s fast digestion of MCT (as opposed to other fats) is an energy booster. So, in the end, this butter-coffee potion may not be harmful for you to consume, but as Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, and Natalie Morales can testify, the taste may deter you from letting it hinder your diet.

Your Answer

Getting kids to eat vegetables

Grow Gardens With Your Kids To Encourage Eating More Vegetables

Grow Gardens With Your Kids to Encourage Eating More Vegetables

Getting your kids to eat vegetables is one of those classically difficult tasks, but tending a garden with them can get them excited about eating what you grow. Mind Body Green suggests starting a simple garden with the youngins so they can start to develop a better relationship with food.

Picture: woodleywonderworks/Flickr

In our world, you can get everything harvested, cleaned and prepared. This creates a disconnect between us and our food, and kids experience this disconnect too. Growing a garden with them, even if it’s just simple vegetables, lets them see where their food comes from, and it’s possible they can come to appreciate it a lot more. You can even let them pick what you grow to get them more involved.

Movie points to sour side of sugar industry

Movie points to sour side of sugar industry

By Edward Helmore

5:00 AM Monday May 12, 2014
‘Sobering statistic’ reveals that today’s children may lead shorter lives than their parents.’
The film claims fast-food chains and the makers of processed foods have added more sugar to

The film claims fast-food chains and the makers of processed foods have added more sugar to “low fat” foods to make them more palatable.

First came An Inconvenient Truth. Then Fast Food Nation. Then Blackfish.

Each showed the power of critically acclaimed, successful documentaries to alter perceptions about controversial issues ranging from global warming to mistreatment of animals in captivity and the behaviour of food industry giants.

Now comes Fed Up, a film that looks at the global problem of surging human obesity rates and obesity-related diseases.

The film, produced by Laurie David and narrated by TV journalist Katie Couric, seeks to challenge decades of misconception and food industry-sponsored misinformation about diet and exercise, good and bad calories, fat genes and lifestyle.

When it comes to obesity, fat may not be our friend but it’s not the enemy that sugar is, says the film’s scientific consultant Robert Lustig, a neuroendocrinologist, author and president of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition.

It is a view that is gathering support from doctors.

A US Government study recently found that 17 per cent of children and young people aged between 2 and 19 are considered obese. Another predicted that today’s American children will lead shorter lives than their parents.

Laurie David, who made the climate change film An Inconvenient Truth, calls that statistic “sobering and tragic”.

According to Lustig, however, neither obesity nor fat is the issue.

“The food industry wants you to focus on three falsehoods that keep it from facing issues of culpability. One, it’s about obesity. Two, a calorie is a calorie. Three, it’s about personal responsibility,” he said.

“If obesity was the issue, metabolic illnesses that typically show up in the obese would not be showing up at rates found in the normal-weight population.

“More than half the populations of the US and UK are experiencing effects normally associated with obesity. If more than half the population has problems, it can’t be a behaviour issue. It must be an exposure problem. And that exposure is to sugar.”

The film claims fast-food chains and the makers of processed foods have added more sugar to “low fat” foods to make them more palatable. It says big business is poisoning us with food marketed under the guise of health benefits. Early-onset diabetes, a condition associated with exposure to cane sugar and corn syrup, was virtually unknown a few years ago. If current rates continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

Efforts to curb the sugar industry have largely failed. In 2003 the Bush Administration threatened to withhold funding to the World Health Organisation if it published nutritional guidelines advocating that no more than 10 per cent of calories daily should come from sugar.

Moreover, Washington has sweetened the profits of the manufacturers of corn-based sweeteners by awarding billions of dollars in trade subsidies.

The film-makers say it is not in the interest of food, beverage or pharmaceutical companies to reduce sugar content. “It’s too profitable,” says Lustig.

The pharmaceutical industry talks of diabetes treatment, not prevention. “The food industry makes a disease and the pharmaceutical industry treats it.

“They make out like bandits while the rest of us are being taken to the cleaners.”

– Observer