Breakfast has long been deemed the most important meal of the day - and new research suggests eating it may even help you to lose weight.
People who eat a big breakfast burn twice as many calories compared with those who eat a larger dinner, according to a new study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
They also experience fewer cravings, particularly for sweets, and have healthier blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day.
Metabolism more active after larger breakfast
Researchers at Lübeck University in Germany, analysed the metabolism of 16 men in a lab experiment, asking them to consume a low calorie breakfast and a high calorie evening meal one day, then vice versa on the other day.
They found that eating a larger breakfast and a smaller dinner boosted diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) - the generation of heat in the body that burns up calories.
The researchers discovered that, on average, the participants’ DIT was 2.5 times higher after breakfast versus after dinner, essentially showing that people’s metabolisms are more active after their morning meal.
Compared with a richer breakfast, a low calorie breakfast is more likely to cause snacking throughout the day. Plus, those who eat smaller breakfasts tend to eat larger meals at dinner, according to the researchers.
Those with diabetes may also benefit
People’s insulin, a hormone that helps turn food into energy, and blood glucose, which is used for energy, were also lower after breakfast compared with after dinner.
The findings may have huge implications for people looking to lose weight, along with those with diabetes who have higher than normal blood glucose levels.
Study 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.
“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.”