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Eat a Large Breakfast — Not a Large Dinner, Research Suggests

If you’re going to a large meal, make it breakfast suggests recent research published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. A large breakfast may help you maintain a healthy weight and manage your blood sugar.

Eat a Large Breakfast -- Not a Large Dinner, Research Suggests

The researchers looked at a process called diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT). When we digest food for the absorption, digestion, transport, and storage of nutrients, we expend energy. DIT is a measure of how well our metabolism is working, and often differs depending on the mealtime.

“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,” said the study’s corresponding author, Juliane Richter, MSc, PhD, of University of Lübeck in Germany. “This finding is significant for all people as it underlines the value of eating enough at breakfast.”

Another reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

This study is preliminary and was only conducted on a small number of men (16), with no women in the study. They did a two-phased approach. The participates ate a low-calorie breakfast and high-calorie dinner for three days, then at a high-calorie breakfast and low-calorie dinner for the next three. The researchers found identical calorie consumption led to 2.5 times higher DIT in the morning than in the evening after high-calorie and low-calorie meals. The food-induced increase of blood sugar and insulin concentrations was diminished after breakfast compared with dinner. The results also show eating a low-calorie breakfast increased appetite, specifically for sweets. (I’ve always wondered about that!)

“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,” Richter said.

This story was based on a press release, and not the journal article.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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