Have you ever heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and thought, “but I’ll just save the calories and skip it”? Good in theory but not in practice. Yes, a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss, along with taking in the type of calories that’ll be used for fuel vs. used for storage. But, while how much you eat and what you’re eating are important considerations, there’s more to consider. When you eat is an important factor as well. And more calories in the morning may be the secret to shedding pounds – and to a smaller waistline, according to research published in the journal Obesity.
In the study conducted at Tel Aviv University, 93 obese women were randomly assigned to two groups, both consuming 1,400 calories a day. The first group took in 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch, and 200 at dinner. The second group swapped their calories consuming 200 at breakfast, 500 at lunch, and 700 at dinner. After 12 weeks, the women who ate more in the morning lost, on average, 17.8 pounds and three inches off their waistline, while the big dinner diners lost just 7.3 pounds and 1.4 inches around the waist.
Did I mention that the big breakfast also included dessert items like chocolate cake – and the women still lost more weight? (No, I’m not recommending chocolate for breakfast, sorry!) According to Professor Daniela Jakubowicz of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Diabetes Unit at Wolfson Medical Center, the additional weight loss may be explained by increased satiety. The women in this group showed lower levels of the hunger-regulating hormone, ghrelin, which helped them resist snacks later in the day. These women also showed lower levels of insulin, glucose, and triglycerides throughout the day, meaning they not only trimmed their waistlines, but decreased their risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Who would have thought that indulging in the morning could set you up for a day of success – not a downward spiral? The key here is not to eat more calories, but be mindful of when you eat them. Because the metabolism is impacted by your body’s circadian rhythm, starting the day with a nutrient-dense, healthy meal could be the secret to shedding those unwanted pounds without feeling deprived.
Are you eating breakfast and is it helping you achieve your weight loss goals? I’d love to know, comment and share!