Health Advice



With diabetes, when you eat what you eat matters

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

When kids' entertainer Mike Phirman sings "What Makes Breakfast," he piles every food imaginable on his plate, before crooning: "Do do do do do do do do do do do/Everybody wanna know what's in the breakfast/What makes the breakfast? ... Lunch and dinner, too?"

Now, for folks with diabetes, there's a pretty good answer. Researchers analyzed data from 4,642 people with diabetes who were in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to figure out their risk of dying from heart disease -- and how it was related to not just what they ate, but when they ate.

The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, shows that the dietary pattern that reduced the diabetes-related risk of dying from heart disease went like this: Enjoy healthy carbs/starchy veggies in the morning, whole grains at midday, and dark-colored veggies like kale and broccoli and (lowfat) diary for dinner. Psst! You know how processed meats are always on the outs? Well, this study found that folks with diabetes who ate them at night were especially likely to die from heart disease.

This pattern is in line with how the body's metabolism works -- burning more fuel (carbs) early, wanting sustained fuel and fiber (whole grains) as the day goes on, and needing nutrient-packed veggies that let you ease into better quality sleep at night. Adding in animal protein? Stick with salmon, sea trout and skinless poultry. For more help with timing your meals, check out my book "What to Eat When."



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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