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    Jun 20, 2016

    Your breakfast choice may help avoid diabetes

    EXPERTS have been saying for decades that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

    Now, researchers from the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) here have proven why this is so. What is eaten for breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day in terms of sugar in the blood.

    It has shown that people who take a low glycaemic index (GI) breakfast and afternoon snack had significantly less sugar in their blood for the rest of the day.

    GI measures the sugar in the blood from the carbohydrates consumed. A glycaemic response (GR) is the amount of sugar in the blood over time resulting from food.

    The trial found that while participants were offered a standard buffet lunch and were free to eat what they wanted for dinner, what they had for breakfast made a vast difference to their glycaemic response.

    The difference was even larger on the second day of the study.

    Professor Jeyakumar Henry, head of CNRC and one of the researchers involved, said: "So what you eat at breakfast sets your glucose response to the entire day at a lower amplitude."

    The researchers postulate two possible reasons for this. One is that those on a low GI breakfast were possibly more satiated and ate less for lunch. The other is something called a "second meal effect" where a low GI meal reduced the glucose response to the next meal taken.

    The results of this study were published last year in the Journal of Clinical & Translational Endocrinology.

    The researchers suggested that taking a low GI breakfast "may help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes" - which is caused by high blood sugar levels.

    Over two days, the 11 male participants were given a high or a low GI breakfast and afternoon snack, a common buffet lunch and were free to choose their own dinner.

    The low GI breakfast comprised multigrain bread and parboiled basmati rice while the high GI breakfast was white bread and glutinous rice.

    The 11 men each wore a continuous glucose monitoring machine that tested their blood glucose every five minutes over 48 hours.

    A week later, they went through the whole schedule again, but those who originally had the low GI breakfast now had the high GI version.

    The difference in blood sugar level, even overnight, was significantly lower with the low GI breakfast.

    Having high levels of sugar in the blood stresses the pancreas, which has to produce more insulin to move the sugar to muscles where it is converted to energy.

    Over time, too much stress decreases the effectiveness of the pancreas. When the pancreas is consistently unable to clear the sugar, people become diabetic.

    High levels of sugar in the blood also significantly raises the risks of cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney failure.

    Singapore has one of the highest incidence of diabetes among developed countries, with one in four people suffering from diabetes or are headed that way.

    About 1,500 people are diagnosed with kidney failure each year.