When it comes to diabetes, it’s not just ‘what you eat’ but also ‘when you eat’ that can affect your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Breakfast time for instance is a crucial factor for diabetes and eating the most important meal of the day at the wrong time can affect your glucose levels and doing this over the time can put you at risk of several diabetes complications. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where body either is not able to use insulin well or doesn’t produce it at all. Apart from medication, people are advised to introduce lifestyle modifications that can help them manage the disease. Exercise, diet, lowering stress, good sleep are the factors that can help keep diabetes in control. (Also read: High blood sugar? 11 lifestyle changes to prevent or manage diabetes)
As per experts, people with diabetes shouldn’t be in rush to have breakfast first thing in the morning as this is the time when your body’s blood sugar levels are naturally high. If you eat immediately after waking up, you will find it difficult to manage diabetes the entire day.
What’s the worst time to eat breakfast for people with diabetes?
“When it comes to breakfast, often referred to as ‘the most important meal of the day’, the worst time to eat breakfast is immediately after waking up in the morning. During the short duration after instantly waking up, blood glucose levels tend to naturally be higher due to your body releasing hormones like cortisol and growth hormone early in the morning, thereby leading to a surge in blood sugar levels,” says Dr Apoorva Garg, Associate Director of Operations – BeatO.
Eating breakfast during this time can exacerbate the already elevated blood glucose levels, leading to potential blood sugar spikes and difficulty managing diabetes throughout the day.
How does skipping breakfast or having your first meal at lunch time can impact your blood sugar?
“The burden of diabetes isn’t just restricted to not having sweets, as people mistakenly believe. It is essential for individuals combating diabetes to be mindful of their body’s natural insulin responses and strive to eat meals at a time when their blood glucose levels are stable. When one tends to skip breakfast, the body may continue to produce hormones like cortisol and glucagon, which can cause blood sugar levels to rise and also increase insulin resistance. Further prolonged fasting or having the first meal around lunchtime can lead to hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar levels, especially if one is under the regular use of insulin to mitigate diabetes. This can lead to further symptoms like dizziness, lethargy or difficulty concentrating. To avoid these potential complications, diabetics are encouraged to have a well-planned breakfast after monitoring their fasting blood sugar levels,” says Dr Garg.
What’s the best time to have breakfast for diabetes?
Coming to the optimal time for diabetics to have breakfast, it is suggested that they have it one or two hours after waking up in the morning.
“With ample time passed with the body having released hormones like cortisol and glucagon, the appropriate food during this duration helps counteract the spike in sugar levels due to the release of these hormones,” says Dr Garg.
What are the quick breakfast items people with diabetes can have?
While a balanced and nutritious diet is recommended for people with diabetes, in case one needs to have a quick breakfast, here are the options suggested by Dr Garg:
- Unsweetened yoghurt
- Rich in protein yet low on carbohydrates like boiled egg whites or egg whites veg omelette
- Grilled chicken sandwich with sourdough bread
- A bowl of oats
- Low-sugar fruit smoothies
- Fresh fruits like apples, pears, papaya, that are easy to eat
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com