Eating a large breakfast can lead to burning twice as many calories, new research finds.
People in the study who ate a large breakfast burned it off more than twice as fast as those who ate a large dinner.
The reason is that the metabolism runs faster earlier in the day, helping calories to be used quicker.
In the evening, though, calories are not burned as quickly so they tend to be stored as fat.
Having a small breakfast also leads to people having a larger appetite, specifically for sweet foods.
Dr Juliane Richter, study co-author, said:
“Our results show that 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 included 16 men who ate a low-calorie breakfast and high-calorie dinner one day and then the other way around the next day.
The results showed that study participants burned off the calories in a large breakfast 2.5 times faster than a large dinner.
Blood sugar and insulin spikes after eating were also diminished post-breakfast compared with dinner.
Dr Richter concluded:
“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.”
A range of studies have begun to show the benefits for weight loss of eating more at breakfast.
One study has shown that eating a high-calorie breakfast can double weight loss.
Even having a desert at breakfast, such as a cookie or piece of chocolate cake, was linked to lower levels of insulin later on and healthier triglyceride levels in that study.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Oltmanns et al., 2020).