Published in the journal Obesity, the study randomly assigned 93 overweight or obese women to one of two diets, both providing 1,400 calories a day over a 12-week period. One group consumed a high-calorie breakfast (700 calories), followed by a 500-calorie lunch and a 200-calorie dinner, while the other group ate a 200-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 700-calorie dinner. The 700-calorie breakfasts and dinners were the same, including desserts such as chocolate.
Both groups lost a significant amount of weight over the 12-week period, but average weight loss in the high calorie breakfast group (8.7 kg) was more than twice that of the low calorie breakfast group (3.6 kg).
In addition, the large breakfast group had lower blood glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels, which are considered as markers for diet-related disease. Blood triglycerides, which are fats linked to heart disease risk, fell by more than a third in the large breakfast group, but increased 14.6% in the large dinner group.
“Our study indicates that avoidance of large meals in the evening may be particularly beneficial in improving glucose and lipid profiles and may lead to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,” the authors wrote.
“…However, the long-term potential health benefits of high energy intake in the morning need to be assessed.”
Seventy-four women completed the study, and those who ate a larger breakfast were also more likely to complete the 12-week study and to comply with the diet, defined as remaining within 10% of the 1,400-calorie allowance.
Published online ahead of print DOI: 10.1002/oby.20460
“High Caloric Intake at Breakfast vs. Dinner Differentially Influences Weight Loss of Overweight and Obese Women”
Authors: Daniela Jakubowicz, Maayan Barnea, Julio Wainstein, Oren Froy