Don’t skip breakfast. It will actually help regulate your glucose levels throughout the day.

Eat breakfast to improve blood glucose readings

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To eat breakfast or not? That is the question.

Conventional wisdom and dietary guidelines have recommended eating breakfast soon after getting up, in part to get one-third of our daily nutritional requirements – it’s hard to do that in two meals.

A recent small study of people with diabetes evaluated their blood sugar or glucose levels through the day. As it turns out, eating breakfast ended up being a very good thing for glucose readings the rest of the day. Here is more from this interesting study.

In this small study of middle-aged adults, overweight adults with type 2 diabetes, eating breakfast was important for the blood glucose readings after lunch and dinner:

With breakfast:  

  • Average glucose reading after lunch  192 mg      
  • Average glucose reading after dinner 215 mg

Without breakfast:  

  • Average glucose reading after lunch 268 mg (56 mg higher)
  • Average glucose reading after dinner 298 mg (83 mg higher) 

Note: For people with type 2 diabetes, the glucose goal after eating a meal is less than 180 mg.

Why the higher glucose readings when breakfast was skipped? The diabetes researchers theorize that going a long time without eating (from dinner one day to lunch the next day) results in the pancreatic beta cells being delayed in making insulin when they are finally called upon to make.

Insulin is released from the pancreas after eating to get the glucose into the cells. If there is not enough insulin, as is the case in type 2 diabetes, blood glucose levels rise.  Also, going a long stretch of time without food may cause the liver to make and release glucose, resulting in higher glucose readings.

The bottom line – don’t skip breakfast. It will actually help regulate your glucose levels throughout the day. Include a whole-grain, fruit and lean protein for a well-balanced breakfast. 

Breakfast Ideas:  (Protein + Starch + Fruit or Vegetable)

  1. Nut butter on whole-grain English muffin w/ banana slices 
  2. Fried egg sandwich on oatmeal bread + fresh apple
  3. Egg white omelet w/ spinach + homemade hash brown potatoes (starch) 
  4. Oatmeal made w/ milk + frozen blackberries

Healthy Recipes to Try:


About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.