There has been little research published regarding the association of eating patterns and the development of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D).
In a recently published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers analyzed associations between breakfast omission, eating frequency, snacking, and the risk of Type 2 Diabetes in men.
Participants included 29,206 U.S. men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. All men were free of T2D, cardiovascular disease and cancer at the beginning of the study and were followed for 16 years.
During the follow-up period, 1,944 cases of T2D were documented. After adjustment for known risk factors for T2D, including BMI (Body Mass Index, a measurement of obesity), men who skipped breakfast had 21% higher risk of T2D than did men who consumed breakfast. Compared with men who ate three times a day, men who ate 1–2 times a day had a higher risk of T2D, regardless of their BMI or diet quality. In men with higher than optimal BMI, additional snacks beyond the 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) were also associated with increased T2D risk.
In this large prospective study, men who routinely skipped breakfast had an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, regardless of their BMI. A direct association between snacking between meals and T2D risk was dependent on their BMI and did not increase risk in those of normal weight.
Mekary RA, Giovannucci E, Willett WC, van Dam RM, Hu FB. Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in men: breakfast omission, eating frequency, and snacking. Am J Clin Nutr 2012 May;95(5):1182-9. Epub 2012 Mar 28.