Eating a big breakfast could help you burn DOUBLE the amount of calories ‘because it boosts the metabolism more than a large dinner’
- A big breakfast could be the key to losing weight, researchers in Germany said
- Their study found filling up in the morning boosts a metabolism process
- Diet-induced thermogenesis was shown to be twice as high in breakfast eaters
- In contrast, a low calorie breakfast increases appetite, especially for sweets
Eating a big breakfast could help you burn double the amount of calories than if you eat a larger meal at dinner.
It could be the key to losing weight while also keeping blood sugar levels steady, researchers at Lubeck University in Germany said.
Their study found filling up in the morning boosts a metabolism process known as diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT).
DIT refers to the number of calories the body expends to heat the body and digest food. It was shown to be twice as high for those who ate more at breakfast than at dinner.
On the other hand, a low calorie breakfast increases appetite, especially for sweets, the researchers said.
Eating a big breakfast could help you burn double the amount of calories than if you eat a larger meal at dinner, a study at Lubeck University in Germany suggests
The findings published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism were based on a laboratory experiment of 16 men.
They consumed a low and high calorie breakfast and dinner one day – and then vice versa on another.
DIT was 2.5 times higher when the high calorie meal was eaten in the morning than in the evening.
DIT is the body’s way of heating in order to support digestion and transport of blood when eating. Different foods and meal times affect how many calories are used by the body to do it.
The study also showed increases blood sugar and insulin concentrations, caused by eating a meal, was diminished after breakfast, but not so much after dinner.
WHAT IS DIET-INDUCED THERMOGENESIS?
Diet-induced thermogenesis is when the body produces heat after eating, also called the thermic effect of food.
After eating, the body expends more energy for a few hours in order to support digestion, transport of blood and nutrient absorption.
How much DIT is required will depend on the size of the meal and time of day it is eaten. Some foods require more thermic response than others, studies have found.
Thermic activity is thought to aid weight loss because it is a measure of how well the metabolism is working.
There is some evidence to suggest obese people have lower DIT response, suggesting they carry more weight because their DIT or metabolism is dampened.
The results also showed eating a low-calorie breakfast caused sweet cravings with a higher appetite.
This suggests those saving all their calories for the end of the day may face consequences because they snack more.
Corresponding author Dr Juliane Richter said: ‘Our results show a meal eaten for breakfast – regardless of the amount of calories it contains – creates twice as high diet-induced thermogenesis as the same meal consumed for dinner.
‘This finding is significant for all people as it underlines the value of eating enough at breakfast.’
The study adds to increasing evidence that the best way of losing weight is to eat your largest meal in the morning – and your smallest in the evening.
Dr Richter, a neurobiologist at Lubeck University, said: ‘Eating more at breakfast instead of dinner could prevent obesity and high blood sugar.’
Both obesity and high blood sugar can lead to a host of life-threatening illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Previous research has shown DIT is lower in people with obesity. It’s seen as a measure of how well our metabolism is working.
DIT can differ depending on mealtime and is generally slower in the evening and at night due to our body clocks.
Dr Richter said: ‘We recommend that patients with obesity as well as healthy people eat a large breakfast rather than a large dinner to reduce body weight and prevent metabolic diseases.’
Eating a large breakfast has long been thought to help prevent weight gain.
A 2017 study of over 50,000 adults, which found eating a big breakfast, medium lunch and small dinner led to lower BMIs (body mass indexes).
The US and Czech nutritionists tracked the participants for seven years and discovered eating the largest meal in the morning was among the most effective strategies for preventing long-term weight gain.
Professor Daniela Jakubowicz, author of The Big Breakfast Diet, found that those who piled on the calories in the morning were more likely to feel satisfied, preventing snacking throughout the day.
And another study by Professor Jakubowicz found that eating chocolate in the morning, when our metabolism is at its highest, prevented cravings for sweet things later on.
WHAT IS THE BEST SIZE OF BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
A blow out breakfast, a medium lunch and small dinner may be the best combination for those suffering from diabetes or obesity, research suggested in March 2018.
Obese diabetes patients following such a diet lose 11lbs (5kg) over three months compared to a 3lb (1.4kg) weight gain for those eating the traditionally recommended weight-loss plan of six small meals a day, a study found.
Sticking to just three meals a day of varying sizes also reduces diabetics’ glucose levels and insulin requirements, as well as their hunger and carbohydrate cravings, the research adds.
Lead author Dr Daniela Jakubowicz, from Tel Aviv University, said: ‘The hour of the day — when you eat and how frequently you eat — is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat.
‘Our body metabolism changes throughout the day.
‘A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening.’
Results further suggest fasting glucose levels decrease by 54 mg/dl (from 161 to 107) in those eating three meals a day group compared to only 23 mg/dl (from 164 to 141) in those consuming six.
Healthy levels are considered to be less than 108 mg/dl.
Having breakfast as the main meal of the day also significantly reduces the need for insulin by -20.5 units/day (from 54.7 to 34.8) compared to those spread out throughout the day, which requires people have 2.2 more units a day (from 67.8 to 70).
Overall amounts of glucose in the blood are also lower just 14 days after adopting a three meal a day eating plan.