Big Breakfast For Burning Up Calories

A big breakfast taken from above.
Image by Free-Photo, c/o Pixabay.

I always felt breakfast was the most important meal of the day and that they have come from urban myth and from those who claimed they knew better. Don’t skimp on breakfast they say because if you want to lose weight then this is the time of day when you need the calories. Frankly it never seemed to make sense but some new research suggests there wont be much myth busting going on.

We see a relatively small nutritional study where men who ate a large breakfast but had a small dinner or supper, appeared to burn more than twice as many calories if the size of the meal was the other way round. What is not clear is why the condition of diet-induced thermogenesis as it is known works this way. This type of calorie burning is described as the energy required to process a meal and it is higher in the morning.

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism which is run by the Endocrine Society. It was conducted at the University of Lübeck in Germany. The lead author, Juliane Richter who is a neurobiologist at the Centre of Brain, Behaviour and Metabolism at the university,  stated in the press release:-

“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.”

In this study, 16 men ate a low-calorie breakfast and high -calorie dinner. After checking their calorie burning activity, they reversed the calorie order for comparison. The men had roughly 2.5 times higher calorie burn in the morning than the evening when they were staring their day with a high-calorie meal. One of the other key findings and of importance to those of us dieting, was the finding that the low-calorie breakfast increased appetite for most of the day. It indicates that our craving for food as in our level of satiety or satisfaction is not met if we skip breakfast. The effect is for us to snack and graze rather than manage our eating at set periods of time.

Dr. Richter also stated:-

“Eating more at breakfast instead of dinner could prevent obesity and high blood sugar.”

May be this is the start of something. Research a few years ago had already raised the argument for scoffing at breakfast. In Israel, researchers from Tel Aviv University back in 2013 found that a high-calorie breakfast protected us to a certain extent from hypertension (high blood pressure), heart issues and the development of type-2 diabetes.

That research showed that eating a good breakfast could help with weight loss. Here, it was obese women taking part in the study. Those who had a big breakfast lost an average of 17.8 pounds (8.1kg) compared to 7.3 pounds (3.3kg) for the group who had a big dinner.

After all, the saying is you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Maybe they were right all along.


Juliane Richter, Nina Herzog, Simon Janka, Thalke Baumann, Alina Kistenmacher, Kerstin M Oltmanns, Twice as High Diet-Induced Thermogenesis After Breakfast vs Dinner On High-Calorie as Well as Low-Calorie Meals, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 105, Issue 3, March 2020, dgz311,

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