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New Study Explores Meal Timing for Diabetes

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Meal timing for diabetes - Dr. Axe

People with diabetes know how important dietary choices are for controlling symptoms and reducing the risk of serious disease. While watching carbohydrate and sugar intake is a common recommendation, a new study suggests that taking meal timing into account may also contribute to long-term health.

Meal timing for diabetes is still being researched, and before any specific recommendations can be made, it remains important to focus on eating nutrient-rich foods and a balanced combination of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats.

Study Findings: Meal Timing for Diabetes

A March 2022 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism investigated whether food intake time across three meals is associated with long-term survival for people with diabetes.

The study included 4,642 diabetic patients who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003–2014. Based on results on meal times and dietary choices, researchers analyzed the relationship between patient survival and food intake times.

The survey answers highlighted some interesting relationships between how not only food choices, but the time those foods are eaten playing a role in health among diabetic patients.

Researchers found that high intake of potato or starchy vegetables in the morning, whole grains in the afternoon, and dark vegetables and milk in the evening was associated with better long-term survival in people with diabetes. They also noted that lower intake of processed meats in the evening had beneficial effects.

What It Means

The results of this survey indicates that when it comes to diabetes management, both what you eat and when are important factors. That said, experts say they need more research before making specific recommendations for what foods to eat during specific times.

We know that people with diabetes are much more likely to develop other health conditions, including heart disease. Reducing this risk with a healthy diet is critical, and diabetic diet plans lay out which foods should be consumed and which ones avoided.

This latest study suggests that the timing of food consumption should be considered, too.

The best foods for diabetes allow you to maintain a healthy weight and normal blood sugar levels, while providing the energy and satiety you need. The key is filling your diet with nutrient-rich foods, and while food timing may play a role in your long-term health, researchers have to dive a little deeper before this concept is added to meal plans.

Although the survey results point to interesting facts regarding food timing, other factors that contribute greatly to health among diabetic patients, including physical activity and stress levels, should also be considered.

How to Eat to Manage/Prevent Diabetes

The best way to manage and prevent diabetes is to eat a healthy, balanced diet made up primarily of the following foods:

  • Non-starchy vegetables, including leafy greens, broccoli, celery and carrots
  • Organic meats, like grass-fed beef, poultry and lamb
  • Wild seafood, including wild-caught salmon and mackerel
  • Cage-free eggs
  • Healthy fats, like olive oil, coconut oil and avocado

Some foods that diabetics can enjoy in moderation include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits, like berries, apples and pears
  • Organic dairy products, like unsweetened yogurt and feta cheese

If your diet is made up of the foods above, you’re in good shape! Load your plate up with these healthy options, and minimize or avoid the following:

  • Grains and refined carbohydrates
  • Legumes, like beans and lentils
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Processed and packaged snacks
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

In addition to eating these healthy foods, physical exercise is critical for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and weight. Activities like walking, swimming, biking and yoga are excellent additions to your day.

Conclusion

  • A March 2022 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism analyzed whether food intake time across three meals is associated with long-term survival for people with diabetes.
  • Survey results from over 4,600 diabetic patients indicate some interesting relationships between how not only food choices, but the time those foods are eaten playing a role in health among diabetic patients.
  • Researchers found that high intake of potato or starchy vegetables in the morning, whole grains in the afternoon, and dark vegetables and milk in the evening was associated with better long-term survival in people with diabetes. They also noted that lower intake of processed meats in the evening had beneficial effects.
  • The results of this survey indicates that when it comes to diabetes management, both what you eat and when are important factors. That said, experts say they need more research before making specific recommendations for what foods to eat during specific times.
  • The key to diabetes management is to eat a nutrient-dense diet from real, organic foods, while avoiding irritating foods and processed foods.

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