Meal timing, meal frequency, and breakfast skipping in adult individuals with type 1 diabetes - associations with glycaemic control

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 27;9(1):20063. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-56541-5.


We assessed meal timing, meal frequency, and breakfast consumption habits of adult individuals with type 1 diabetes (n = 1007) taking part in the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy Study, and studied whether they are associated with glycaemic control. Data on dietary intake and blood glucose measurements were retrieved from food records. HbA1c was measured at the study visit. In the whole sample, four peaks of energy intake emerged. Energy intake was the greatest in the evening, followed by midday. Altogether 7% of the participants reported no energy intake between 05:00 and 09:59 (breakfast skippers). While breakfast skippers reported lower number of meals, no difference was observed in the total energy intake between those eating and omitting breakfast. In a multivariable model, skipping breakfast was associated with higher mean blood glucose concentrations and lower odds of good glycaemic control. A median of 6 daily meals was reported. Adjusted for confounders, the number of meals was negatively associated with HbA1c, and the mean of the blood glucose measurements, but positively associated with the variability of these measurements. Our observations support the habit of a regular meal pattern, including consumption of breakfast and multiple smaller meals for good glycaemic control in adults with type 1 diabetes. However, an increase in the blood glucose variability may additionally be expected with an increase in the number of meals eaten.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Breakfast*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals*
  • Middle Aged


  • Blood Glucose