Attention, Diabetics! This Is How Many Meals You Should Eat Every Day (Hint: It’s Not 3)

Time to rethink breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

mealSoloviova Liudmyla/ShutterstockYou’ve been told all your life to eat three square meals a day. Well, if you have diabetes, it might be time to rethink your food schedule. (And if you don’t, watch out for these 12 silent signs of diabetes.)

For 12 weeks, 47 obese adults with either pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes ate either three or six meals a day (presumably without these 9 worst food mistakes diabetics make). Then they swapped over for another 12 weeks, giving blood samples before starting each routine.

Even though participants ate the same number of calories, spreading it out into smaller meals gave big benefits, according to results shared at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting.

During the six-meal plan, participants had lower average blood sugar and showed signs that their bodies could use sugar better. Plus, it took longer for blood sugar to spike after eating in prediabetics, and those with severe prediabetes had fewer times with abnormally high insulin.

But that’s not all. Neither of the plans helped the volunteers lose weight on average, but they were less likely to feel hungry (or want to eat when they weren’t) when they had more meals. (To boost your six-meal benefits, don’t miss these 10 life-saving things every diabetic should do.)

“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,” the researchers said in a statement.

If you aren’t at risk of diabetes, though, you might not want to jump onboard the six-meal plan yet. A past study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that obese adults didn’t lose any more weight when eating six meals instead of three per day. Another study in the journal Obesity backed that up, finding that more meals didn’t help healthy adults’ metabolisms. Instead, stick with these 42 weight-loss tips you haven’t heard before.

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