The Daily Telegraph
Tucking in at breakfast not best way to shed the pounds
HAVING a substantial breakfast does not help people lose weight, a study has found.
Scientists found eating a large morning meal does not affect the way the body processes calories.
It had long been believed a big breakfast results in more calories being burnt during the day but the findings throw this into doubt.
The proverb suggests people should “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper” if they want to shed the pounds.
In fact, it does not matter whether breakfast, lunch or dinner is the biggest meal of the day because the body processes the calories in the same way, researchers found.
The team from the University of Aberdeen found people who made breakfast their biggest meal of the day and those who consumed most of their calories in the evening both lost a little more than 7lb (3kg) in a month.
However, the study was small and researchers suggested that eating more food first thing in the morning could help people lose weight “in the real world” by making them less ravenous at lunch and dinnertime.
Participants said they were less hungry on days when they ate a big breakfast, the authors found. The study’s senior author, Prof Alexandra Johnstone, from the university’s Rowett Institute, said: “There are a lot of myths surrounding the timing of eating and how it might influence either body weight or health. We in the nutrition field have wondered how this could be possible. Where would the energy go?
“We decided to take a closer look at how time of day interacts with metabolism.”
‘When it comes to timing and dieting, there is not one diet that fits all. It is very difficult to measure’
For the study, the team recruited 30 people who were overweight or obese but otherwise healthy. They recruited 16 male and 14 female participants. Each of them was told to make breakfast or dinner their biggest meal of the day for four weeks. The diets contained 30 per cent protein, 35 per cent carbohydrate and 35 per cent fat.
After a week in which calories were balanced throughout the day, they then swapped to the opposite diet for four weeks.
The findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.