There’s a lot of research out there about diets, and what the healthiest trends are these days. This overload of information gets especially conflicted when it comes to healthy diets for people with diabetes. One of the biggest trends has been the Grazing Diet, where a person eats 4-6 mini meals throughout the day, in place of the standard 3-square diet of breakfast, lunch and dinner. There have been quite a few arguments both for and against this diet’s effect on people with diabetes, so we did some digging and compiled our findings for you here!
- Easier Schedule: As this is the most common diet, it is much easier to accommodate this diet both at work and in your social life.
- Shopping & Cooking: Creating a menu for the week is simplified when making fewer dishes. This same simplicity is apparent when cooking proper serving sizes!
- Weight Loss: Waiting longer between meals gives your body time to not only run through the carbs you’ve eaten, but to also tap into your body’s fat storage for additional energy throughout the day.
- Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach: People are often more prone to larger portions and over eating when you are waiting potentially 5-6 hours between meals.
- Bored Snacking: We are more likely to reach for quick and easy (and often unhealthy!) snacks not out of hunger, but out of boredom between meals.
- Reduce Cravings: Knowing that your next meal is always right around the corner can help reduce cravings throughout the day.
- Gradual Glucose Control: It is possible to gain better blood glucose control, as smaller frequent meals provides smaller glucose amounts into the blood stream. This will cause your blood sugar to rise more gradually.
- Higher Metabolism: It is thought that with frequent eating you can boost your metabolism into high-gear throughout the day.
***Higher metabolism is one of the most controversial points about the grazing diet, there is a lot of conflicting information here. The counter argument for this point is the weight loss pro-point for the 3-square diet, where giving your body time between meals helps tap into your body’s fat storage.
- Portion Control: This diet can cause weight gain, as many people focus on eating often and forget about eating small. Paying attention to proper portion control with this diet is key!
- Lack of Nutrients: It can be quite a bit more difficult to include all the proper nutrients your body needs in mini sized portions.
- Calorie Tracking: Constantly being in a snacking mindset can make it much easier to mindlessly eat, causing you to lose track of your calories which can affect a healthy diabetes diet.
So what’s the bottom line you ask? No one diet is the solution for everyone. There seems to be more research in support of eating three meals a day, especially when it comes to managing blood sugar with diabetes. However, there are still success stories with a grazing style diet. You should always consider the impact of changing your dietary habits, and check with a Registered Dietitian before beginning any new nutrition regimen to make sure that you are staying safe and eating appropriately for your lifestyle!