THE Americans love their pancakes, the French adore their croissants and well there’s nothing us Brits love waking up more to than a greasy fry-up.
And now it turns out breakfast really may be the most important meal of the day – and not just because it stops the loud rumbling mid morning meeting.
Scientists from the University of Lübeck in Germany say this all down to something called diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), which is a measure of how well our metabolism is working, and can differ depending on mealtime.
And at breakfast your metabolism works more efficiently than at dinner – meaning you burn more calories.
For example, a slice of bread consumed at breakfast would be healthier for you than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening.
It underlines the value of eating enough at breakfast.
Juliane Richter, University of Lübeck
The study author Juliane Richter said: “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.
“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 two and a half times times higher DIT in the morning than in the evening after high-calorie and low-calorie meals.
Quick breakfast tips
- Always choose brown over white when it comes to bread
- Keep croissants, muffins and pastries as an occasional treat
- Use as little oil as possible and use sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil instead of butter
- Add extra fruit and veg whenever you can
- Ditch the “breakfast drinks” – Diabetes UK tested one 330ml drink and found it contained 32g of sugar which is more than the RDA of free sugars for adults
- Don’t buy kids’ cereals. Only buy low-sugar alternatives like Shredded Wheat
Source: Diabetes UK
The food-induced increase of blood sugar and insulin concentrations was diminished after breakfast compared with dinner.
The results, which are published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, also show eating a low-calorie breakfast increased appetite, specifically for sweets.
The experts are now urging that overweight people eat a larger breakfast to blitz their body fat.
Professor Richter added: “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.”
It comes after a recent study also revealed a big breakfast can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes who followed a diet plan of a high energy breakfast, followed by an average sized lunch and small dinner not only lost weight but their body was able to manage their blood sugar levels better.
The researchers claimed the hour of the day – when you eat and how frequently you eat – is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat.
Similarly, previous research has found eating a substantial breakfast tricks you into eating less calories for the rest of the day.