Bigger breakfasts better for controlling appetite

Eating a big breakfast and a smaller dinner could aid weight loss by making you feel less hungry, say researchers.

Scientists precisely controlled people’s meals to compare the impact of a large breakfast or a large dinner.
The University of Aberdeen team found people burned the same calories whenever they had their biggest meal of the day.

The researchers were investigating the world of “chrono-nutrition” and how the food we eat is affected by the rhythms of our body’s internal clock. One idea is the evening is a bad time to eat, because the body clock shifts our metabolism towards sleep.

The 30 volunteers had all their meals prepared for them for more than two months with breakfast, lunch and dinner adding up to about 1,700 calories a day.

They spent one month having a huge breakfast using up nearly half their daily calories, followed by a smaller lunch and an even smaller evening meal. In the other month the volunteers had their big meal in the evening rather than the morning.

People’s metabolism was precisely measured using doubly labelled water, which is denser than normal water and can be tracked as it leaves the body.

The results, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found the timing of a big meal made no difference to how many calories were burned, to people’s resting metabolic rate or the amount of weight they lost.

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