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Eating a big breakfast rather than a large dinner may prevent obesity and high blood sugar, according to new research published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Our body expends energy when we digest food for the absorption, digestion, transport and storage of nutrients. This process, known as diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), is a measure of how well our metabolism is working, and can differ depending on mealtime.
“Our results show that a meal eaten for breakfast, regardless of the amount of calories it contains, creates twice as high diet-induced thermogenesis as the same meal consumed for dinner,” said the study’s corresponding author, Juliane Richter, M.Sc., Ph.D., of University of Lübeck in Germany. “This finding is significant for all people as it underlines the value of eating enough at breakfast.”
The researchers conducted a three-day laboratory study of 16 men who consumed a low-calorie breakfast and high-calorie dinner, and vice versa in a second round. They found identical calorie consumption led to 2.5 times higher DIT in the morning than in the evening after high-calorie and low-calorie meals. The food-induced increase of blood sugar and insulin concentrations was diminished after breakfast compared with dinner. The results also show eating a low-calorie breakfast increased appetite, specifically for sweets.
“We recommend that patients with obesity as well as healthy people eat a large breakfast rather than a large dinner to reduce body weight and prevent metabolic diseases,” Richter said.
Other authors include: Nina Herzog, Simon Janka, Thalke Baumann, Alina Kistenmacher and Kerstin M. Oltmanns of the University of Lübeck.
The study was supported by the German Research Foundation.