The injections not only contribute to weight but trigger a vicious cycle of higher insulin doses, a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and other complications, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care stated.
"The traditional diabetic diet specifies six small meals spread throughout the day. But our research proposes shifting the starch-rich calories to the early hours of the day. This produces a glucose balance and improved glycemic control among type 2 diabetics," explained lead author Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Wolfson Medical Center's Diabetes Unit.
"We believe through this it will be possible for diabetics to significantly reduce or even stop the injections of insulin, and most of antidiabetic medications, to achieve excellent control of glucose levels," Jakubowicz added.
According to the new research, our metabolism and biological clock are optimized for eating in the morning and for fasting during the evening and night, when we are supposed to be asleep.
"But the usual diet recommended for type 2 diabetes consists of several small meals evenly distributed throughout the day -- for example, three meals and three snacks daily, including a snack before going to sleep to prevent a drop in sugar levels during the night. But the '6M-diet,' as this is called, has not been effective for sugar control, so diabetics require additional medication and insulin," Prof. Jakubowicz noted.
Researchers studied 29 type 2 diabetes participants and compared a new "3M-diet," more in alignment with our biological clock, with a control group on the traditional 6M-diet.
The experimental 3M-diet comprises a meal of bread, fruits and sweets in the early hours of the morning; a substantial lunch; and a small dinner specifically lacking starches, sweets and fruits.
The group on the traditional 6M-diet did not lose weight and did not experience any improvement of sugar levels, requiring an increase in medication and insulin doses. But the group on the 3M-diet not only lost weight but also experienced substantially improved sugar levels.
"Their need for diabetic medication, especially for insulin doses, dipped substantially. Some were even able to stop using insulin altogether," added Prof. Jakubowicz.
"This suggests that the 3M-diet is not only more effective in controlling diabetes. It may also prevent many other complications such as cardiovascular disease, aging and cancer, which are all regulated by the biological clock genes," the lead author opined.