In type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and progressive β-cell failure require treatment with high insulin doses, leading to weight gain. Our aim was to study whether a three-meal diet (3Mdiet) with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast may upregulate clock gene expression and, as a result, allow dose reduction of insulin, leading to weight loss and better glycemic control compared with an isocaloric six-meal diet (6Mdiet).
Twenty-eight volunteers with diabetes (BMI 32.4 ± 5.2 kg/m2 and HbA1c 8.1 ± 1.1% [64.5 ± 11.9 mmol/mol]) were randomly assigned to 3Mdiet or 6Mdiet. Body weight, glycemic control, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), appetite, and clock gene expression were assessed at baseline, after 2 weeks, and after 12 weeks.
3Mdiet, but not 6Mdiet, led to a significant weight loss (–5.4 ± 0.9 kg) (P < 0.01) and decreased HbA1c (–12 mmol/mol [–1.2%]) (P < 0.0001) after 12 weeks. Fasting glucose and daily and nocturnal glucose levels were significantly lower on the 3Mdiet. CGM showed a significant decrease in the time spent in hyperglycemia only on the 3Mdiet. Total daily insulin dose was significantly reduced by 26 ± 7 units only on the 3Mdiet. There was a significant decrease in the hunger and cravings only in the 3Mdiet group. Clock genes exhibited oscillation, increased expression, and higher amplitude on the 3Mdiet compared with the 6Mdiet.
A 3Mdiet, in contrast to an isocaloric 6Mdiet, leads to weight loss and significant reduction in HbA1c, appetite, and overall glycemia, with a decrease in daily insulin. Upregulation of clock genes seen in this diet intervention could contribute to the improved glucose metabolism.