Researchers have found that eating a big breakfast of 700 calories promotes weight loss and reduces risks for diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.
The study, recently published in Obesity comes from Tel Aviv University, where Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz and colleagues studied the impact of different caloric intake at varying times of day. What they found is that the time of day we eat has a significant impact on how our bodies process food.
To study how this timing affects our bodies, the team put 93 obese women into two different groups:
- "Big breakfast group" - consumed 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at dinner
- "Big dinner group" - consumed 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner.
The women's diets consisted of moderate fats and carbohydrates, totaling 1,400 calories, and they followed the diets for 12 weeks. The 700-calorie meals, whether eaten for breakfast or dinner, contained the exact same foods, and included a dessert item such as a piece of chocolate cake or a cookie.
- The women in the big breakfast group lost, on average, 17.8 pounds and 3 inches from their waist.
- The women in the big dinner group, on the other hand, only lost 7.3 pounds and 1.4 inches from their waist.
Additionally, the women from the big breakfast group had larger decreases in insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels than the women from the big dinner group.
The researchers note that one of the most important findings is that the women from the big breakfast group did not experience high blood glucose level spikes that normally occur after a meal.
Although the big dinner group was eating a sensible diet and losing weight, the researchers actually found that their triglycerides - a type of fat found in the body - increased, putting them at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Maximizing calories at breakfast
The Marie Ellis (resource no longer available at www.diabetes.org)