Should you eat a big breakfast?
It’s a question that keeps popping up in diet and wellness circles, in large part because contradictory studies are constantly emerging. One shows that skipping breakfast boosts your metabolism and recommends intermittent fasting, while another shows that eating a big breakfast activates your metabolism and helps burn more calories. So…which is it?
According to the latest study published in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, you may be better off eating a large breakfast and a small dinner (1). But how does this new research stack up to previous findings? Let’s find out.
In an attempt to set to rest the breakfast debate, researchers from the Endocrine Society monitored diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) in response to a large breakfast versus a large dinner. DIT is an indicator of how well your metabolism is working.
Sixteen men of normal weight ate a large breakfast and small dinner for 3 days, and then ate a small breakfast and a large dinner for 3 days. DIT was more than twice as high when participants ate a large breakfast and a small dinner, and insulin and blood sugar levels were lower.
Results also showed that eating a smaller breakfast contributed to more sugar cravings throughout the day.
“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 study author Juliane Richter, M.Sc., Ph.D., of University of Lübeck.
These findings are echoed by many nutritionists and diet experts. In the evening, our metabolisms naturally slow, and it can be more difficult to burn off the energy from a late night meal than from a balanced breakfast early in the day.
If only it were that simple…
A comprehensive review of studies examining the effects of breakfast on metabolism and weight loss over 28 years was published just last year in BMJ, and it showed the exact opposite—people who skip breakfast ate on average 260 fewer calories per day than people who ate breakfast, and they weighed less (2)!
The researchers conclusion: “This study suggests that the addition of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss, regardless of established breakfast habit. Caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it could have the opposite effect.”
The meta-analysis also revealed skipping breakfast didn’t make people hungrier later in the day, even when they expended the same amount of energy as people who ate breakfast.
Oh my goodness. What’s a dieter to do with all these contradictions?
Eating a smaller breakfast can lead to more snacking throughout the day and potentially increase caloric intake. If you’ve skipped breakfast and eaten light throughout the day, you may be ready to gorge on a large pizza by the time night falls.
If this sounds like you, then skipping breakfast is probably not the best choice. For those with a strong hunger signal in the morning, not listening to your body’s needs may indeed cause you to overeat.
You might also be more insulin sensitive in the morning and eating breakfast can help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Thumbs up for morning meal time!
Other people thrive on skipping breakfast or practicing alternate-day fasting. They don’t have strong hunger cues in the morning and can regulate their hunger throughout the day.
If you work out and are physically active in the earlier part of the day, breakfast can support your energy levels and fitness goals. If you like to work out in the evening, then skipping breakfast might make the most sense to you.
So the moral of the studies is that every “body” is different.
We recommend experimenting to find out how your body responds to a big breakfast and a small dinner, versus a small breakfast and large dinner, or even skipping breakfast. Give yourself a week at a time to see how these dietary changes affect your energy levels and your weight.
If you are aiming to lose weight or maintain your current weight then some extra metabolism support can help.
Fitoru designed a weight-loss system just for that! We call it Slimpack, and it’s a bundle of 3 nutraceuticals that work together to help your body detox, burn fat, control hunger, and supercharge its metabolism. Thermogenic ingredients in this concentrated proprietary formula are scientifically proven to help you burn calories and fat quicker!
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If you’re on board with breakfast, then you won’t want to miss out on these delectable bacon and egg bites that are also keto approved. Check out the video below!
Not into bacon? How about this keto-friendly salmon breakfast salad?
Plant-based eaters will appreciate starting the day off with an antioxidant-rich feta and spinach omelette.
If you want to keep breakfast light, why not grab and go with a healthy fat bomb? (Hint: You don’t have to be on a keto diet to enjoy a fat bomb every once and awhile.)