“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” We’ve heard it many times, that breakfast shouldn’t be skipped for fear of weight gain, metabolic syndrome, or brain fog. While we pay a lot of attention to whether or not we eat breakfast and which foods are included, not much has been said about the optimal size of breakfast. Until now. Recently, researchers with the British Heart Foundation found that a big breakfast could be better for at least one morning-meal benefit: weight loss.
The researchers used a pool of 93 obese women, splitting the women into two groups. Looking solely at meal size based on calories, one group received the majority of their calories in the morning, while the other group received the biggest meal at supper time. The study found those who ate more in the morning hours were able to lose more weight in a 12 week period.
All of the women were on a diet of 1,400 calories per day. The “big breakfast” group received 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch, and 200 at dinner. In the “big supper” group, those caloric intakes were reversed, with 200 in the morning, 500 at lunch, and 700 at dinnertime.
After the 12-week period, the big breakfast eaters lost an average of 17.8 pounds and three inches off their waists. This was compared to an average of 7.3 pounds and 1.4 inches off the waist of the big dinner group.
“We’ve all heard the saying ‘breakfast like a king’, but this study shows that eating more in the morning may actually help weight loss,” said study author and senior dietician Victoria Taylor. “The research suggests that the timing of our meals may be as important as what’s on the menu.”
But, Taylor cautions, the study was limited in scope and time, saying that “we need further research to see how these results would translate to men and also to check long-term impact.” It’s true, we do need more research. Not only is the study less-than-conclusive, but recommendations on meal sizes, number of meal to eat in a day, etc. are always changing. Additionally, as a side note, it’s important to analyze the nutrition value of food and each meal as to not expose yourself to health-damaging foods and substances.
So far, though, research does point to a bigger breakfast (made up mostly of protein) leading to quicker weight loss.