Eating a hearty breakfast instead of a big dinner can prevent obesity and high blood sugar, since it can burn up to twice the calories, according to new research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism of the Endocrine Society of the United States.
The body spends energy when digesting food for absorption, digestion, transport and storage of nutrients. This process, known as diet-induced thermogenesis (TID), is a measure of how well the metabolism is working and may differ depending on the time of the meal.
“Our results show that a meal taken at breakfast, regardless of the amount of calories it contains, generates twice as much diet-induced thermogenesis as the same meal consumed at dinner – explains the corresponding author of the study, Juliane Richter, from the University of Lübeck in Germany – this finding is significant for all people, as it underlines the value of eating enough for breakfast. “
The researchers conducted a three-day laboratory study with 16 men who consumed a low-calorie breakfast and a high-calorie dinner, and vice versa in a second round. They found that identical calorie consumption led to a TID 2.5 times higher in the morning than at night after high-calorie and low-calorie meals.
The food-induced increase in blood sugar and insulin concentrations decreased after breakfast compared to dinner. The results also show that eating a low-calorie breakfast increases appetite, specifically for sweets. “We recommend that obese patients and healthy people eat a hearty breakfast instead of a hearty dinner to reduce body weight and prevent metabolic diseases,” notes Richter.