Perhaps you've heard the proverb that suggests the secret to reducing weight is to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a poor. Although we'd like to advocate eating a nutritious breakfast, the advice backed by science for planning your meals isn't relatively as straightforward.
For this reason, a team of experts set out to determine whether front-loading your calories affect your metabolism. Their research, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, revealed that eating a large breakfast followed by smaller meals throughout the rest of the day may not be as beneficial to metabolism as previously believed.
Alexandra Johnstone's Study
Alexandra Johnstone, Ph.D., RNutr, stated, "There are a lot of myths surrounding the timing of eating and how it might influence either body weight or health. This has been driven largely by the circadian rhythm field."
"But we in nutrition have wondered how this could be possible. Where would the energy go? We decided to look closely at how the time of day interacts with metabolism."
A Case Study
The study examined data from 30 healthy individuals who were overweight or obese These people have a BMI of 27 to 42 kg/m2, although BMI and may not be the most precise indicator of health. There were 16 males and 14 women in the study.
For four weeks, each participant was given a random meal plan to obtain most of their calories at dinner or front-load them at breakfast. The calorie content of the meals was regulated to be 30% protein, 35% carbohydrate, and 35% fat.
One benefit for those interested in front-loading calories was that those who did so reported feeling more content throughout the day when researchers asked participants about their ability to regulate their appetite.
In the release, Johnstone stated that the study's participants "reported that their appetites were better controlled on the days they ate a heavier breakfast and that they felt full throughout the remainder of the day." In contrast to the research context we were working in, "this could be highly valuable in the real-world scenario."