Attention diabetics: Skipping breakfast could cause dangerous spikes!

I've seen it happen time and time again: Someone gets a diabetes diagnosis and tries to make up for lost time, thinking he can undo years of unhealthy eating overnight.

Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.

You didn't get the disease quickly, and it's going to take some time and effort to reverse it.

So don't be tempted to cut corners by skipping meals, especially breakfast.

I know breakfast is an easy target. If you can wake up and hold out until lunch, you'll have eaten less and you'll make progress in your weight loss -- and maybe even help control your blood sugar, right?

Wrong!

Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for a reason: It not only fills your stomach and gives you energy, but it's necessary for keeping the hormones that control hunger and satisfaction on track.

It's also critical to blood sugar control, and new research shows how skipping this key meal could lead to blood sugar problems all day long for diabetics.

When you skip breakfast, the beta cells in your pancreas -- which are already struggling to get by due to the diabetes -- seem to "forget" how to do their job and release insulin after meals.

As a result, when you eventually do eat, your blood sugar remains high.

In the new study, skipping breakfast caused blood sugar levels to spike by 40 percent after lunch.

The effects even lingered into the evening, with blood sugar levels 25 percent higher after dinner on days in which diabetics skipped breakfast, according to the small study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Those higher blood sugar levels will of course make it harder to control the disease and may even lead to needing more meds.

Excess blood sugar will also increase your risk of the disease's notorious long-term problems, from neuropathic pain in your feet and legs to the damage in the brain that leads to memory loss and dementia.

So instead of trying to overcompensate, enjoy a reasonable breakfast. Pass on cereal and toast (and especially the juice), which can cause blood sugar to spike and crash, leaving you hungry and in need of meds.

Try a back-to-basics breakfast centered on eggs, which are proven to help you feel fuller longer so you're not tempted to snack before lunch.