Meal Size: Something Critical for Those with Diabetes to Chew On

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Those who have struggled with the effects of diabetes know how devastating the disease can be. With approximately 25.8 million people with diabetes in the U.S. alone, according to the American Diabetes Association, researchers are continually exploring ways to improve prevention and treatment. A primary area of interest is diet. Eating fruits and vegetables while avoiding red meat, sugar and additives are all recognized as effective protocols.

New research, however, is focusing on a different aspect of prevention—namely, the effect of how many meals we eat a day and when we eat. Rather than examining the content of meals, this work examines the mechanics of an individual’s eating habits. Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague, compared the effects of six small and two large meals on body weight, hepatic fat content, insulin resistance and beta cell function.

Fifty-four patients with Type 2 diabetes were treated with oral hypoglycemic agents and split into two equal groups with these meal variants. Researchers found that although body weight decreased significantly in both regimens, in every area the patients who ate two large meals experienced more dramatic results. Not only did they lose more weight, but their hepatic fat content—associated with problems such as cardiovascular disease—also decreased more significantly. Those on this meal plan experienced a greater decrease of fasting plasma glucose and C-peptide. It also resulted in a greater increase in oral glucose insulin sensitivity. These results suggest that for Type 2 diabetes patients on a hypoenergetic diet, eating larger breakfasts and lunches might be more beneficial than six smaller meals during the day.

Boston Therapeutics, an innovative Manchester, NH-based pharmaceutical company, is acutely aware of the negative impact Type 2 diabetes has on overall health, and its product line is similarly focused on finding ways to lower blood sugar and effectively prevent and treat the disease. Its investigational product, BTI-320, is a non-systemic chewable drug candidate designed to inhibit the enzymes that release glucose from complex carbohydrates after eating. In a Phase IIa study last year, 45 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes taking metformin, insulin and other diabetes drugs responded to BTI-320 with a 40 percent reduction of post-meal glucose in the blood.

David Platt, Ph.D., the CEO of Boston Therapeutics, says, “We set out to create a molecule that would block enzymes that participate in the digestion of sugar. The result is a polysaccharide—a next-generation Alpha Glucosidase Inhibitor—that when taken before meals, works in the gastrointestinal tract to ‘disable’ the carbs. In other words, it blocks the action of carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzymes that break carbohydrates down into glucose.”

Sounds like good news for those with diabetes to chew on.

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