Studies of dieters shows that most weight-loss plans focus on lowering overall calorie intake, but what if the benefits were also influenced by the timing? When obese and overweight women were put on a three-month weight-loss diet, those who ate the majority of their calories at breakfast lost two and a half times more weight than those who ate a light breakfast and ate the majority of their calories at dinner – despite eating the same number of calories overall.
Many people believe that eating late at night causes you to gain weight because you have less opportunity to burn off those calories, but this is incorrect. “People often believe that when we sleep, our bodies shut down, but this is not the case,” explains Jonathan Johnston, a researcher at the University of Surrey who investigates how our body clocks interact with food.
So, what else is going on here? According to early studies, it takes more energy to complete a meal in the morning than it does later in the day, so you burn somewhat more calories if you eat earlier. However, how much of a difference this would make to overall body weight is still unknown.
Another hypothesis is that eating late at night extends the overall window for food consumption. This gives our digestive systems less time to recover and limits our bodies’ ability to burn fat, as fat-burning happens only when our organs realize there is no more food on the way.
According to a recent study, eating a light dinner and a big breakfast is a good approach to maintain a healthy and fit body since it burns more calories, which helps to prevent obesity and high blood sugar.
When we digest food, our bodies expend energy for nutritional absorption, digestion, transport, and storage. Diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) is a measurement of how well the human metabolism is performing, and it varies based on the mealtime.
“Our study revealed that, regardless of the number of calories in a meal, eating it for breakfast causes twice as much diet-induced thermogenesis as eating it for dinner,” said lead researcher Juliane Richter.
“This conclusion is crucial for everyone because it emphasizes the importance of having sufficient breakfast,” Richter added.
The research was released in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
The researchers conducted a three-day laboratory study with 16 males who ate a low-calorie breakfast and a high-calorie dinner in one round and the opposite in the next. After high-calorie and low-calorie meals, they observed that equivalent calorie ingestion resulted in 2.5 times higher DIT in the morning than in the evening. When compared to dinner, the food-induced increase in blood sugar and insulin concentrations was lower after breakfast.
In addition, eating a low-calorie breakfast boosted appetite, particularly for sweets, according to the findings.
“To lower body weight and prevent metabolic illnesses, we propose that patients with obesity, as well as healthy people, eat a large breakfast rather than a huge dinner,” Richter added.
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