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Diabetes diet - Meals

Part 1: Introduction

As the diabetes diet is based entirely on what you eat, and in modern society it is customary to eat three meals a day, here are a few pointers for meals. And as the day starts with breakfast, that is where we will start.


Whether you are trying to lose weight or control blood glucose lelels, it is better to take meals spread out over the day, rather than have one large one. The pattern that has been suggested for centuries is: 'Breakfast like a king, lunch like a lord and dine like a pauper.' In other words, the biggest meal should be at the start of the day, when energy for work is required, instead of the more usual practice of having it in the evening when all you are going to do is sit and watch television and then go to bed. It makes a great deal of sense.

The average working woman and man needs some 2,100 and 2,800 calories a day respectively. If you are engaged in heavy physical work, you require more. If you are to spread out your calorie intake over three meals a day sensibly, therefore, you really should be thinking in terms of eating a breakfast comprising around 600-800 calories or more. And you can't do that on muesli and skimmed milk.

The most important requirement of any breakfast is that it be high protein. It is this which ensures not only that your blood sugar is controlled, but it also has so many other benefits:

  • Ensures high energy levels throughout the day [1]
  • Keeps weight under control, helps with weight loss [2, 3]
  • Protects against the daily stresses of modern life [4]
  • Enhances brain power for alertness and performance [5, 6]
  • Improves reaction times, balance, maintenance of body temperature and reduces susceptibility to fatigue during exercise [7]

Example: Here is an actual example. If the 'dawn phenomenon', where blood glucose is higher in the morning than it was the previous evening, is apparent, carbs should be limited to no more than about 6 grams.

Breakfast 8:00 am
72g extra large egg
120g fat bacon
70g mushrooms (these soak up fat)
15g lard or butter
70g single cream (in drink)
Carb= 6.5g, Protein=37g, Fat=67.2g, Total calories = 779 cals


There is no doubt that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many people have their major meal at the end of the day, sleep badly as a result and then have no appetite for breakfast. You must change this regime. Even if it takes some time to get used to it, do persevere. I urge you to make time for breakfast - the time it takes will soon be made up later as you will work more efficiently. A good meal of eggs, meat, cheese or fish will give you an amazing amount of energy throughout the whole day. If you are used to feeling weak and hungry by mid-morning, you will be astonished by the difference a good breakfast makes. If you truly haven't time to cook in the morning or cannot face a cooked breakfast, why not try a real Continental breakfast? Keep some hard-boiled eggs in the fridge and have one or two for breakfast with cold meat and/or cheese, a piece of fruit or salad and a drink. Never 'make do' with a slice of toast and a cup of coffee.


1. Orent-Keiles E, Hallman L F. The Breakfast Meal in Relation to Blood Sugar Values. US Department of Agriculture Circular No. 827 (1949).
2. Boutelle K, Neumark-Sztainer D, Story M, Resnick M. Weight control behaviors among obese, overweight, and nonoverweight adolescents. J Pediatr Psychol 2002; 27: 531-40.
3. Ma Y, Bertone ER, Stanek EJ 3rd, et al. Association between eating patterns and obesity in a free-living US adult population. Am J Epidemiol 2003; 158: 85-92.
4. Cartwright M, Wardle J, Steggles N, et al. Stress and dietary practices in adolescents. Health Psychol 2003; 22: 362-9.
5. Pollitt E. Does breakfast make a difference in school? J Am Diet Assoc 1995; 95: 1134.
6. Kleinman RE, Hall S, Green H, et al. Diet, breakfast, and academic performance in children. Ann Nutr Metab 2002; 46, Suppl 1: 24-30.
7. Ainslie PN, Campbell IT, Frayn KN, et al. Physiological, metabolic, and performance implications of a prolonged hill walk: influence of energy intake. J Appl Physiol 2003; 94: 1075-83.

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Last updated 23 January 2009

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