Eat a hearty breakfast every day

A particularly large number of calories are burned after breakfast

Lübeck. Twice as much energy is burned at breakfast as at dinner. This is the result of a study by the Section for Psychoneurobiology at the University of Lübeck (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2020; online February 19)

According to a communication from the university, researchers led by Professor Kerstin Oltmanns investigated whether food-induced thermogenesis (NIT) varies with the time of day with identical meals and whether this regulation is maintained even after low-calorie meals compared to high-calorie meals.

Amount of heat measured

In a blinded, randomized laboratory study, 16 men of normal weight received either a low-calorie breakfast and a high-calorie dinner or, conversely, a high-calorie breakfast and a low-calorie dinner.

The NIT was measured by means of indirect calorimetry based on the amount of heat given off. The researchers also determined parameters of glucose metabolism. In addition, hunger and sweets consumed were compared in both groups.

Result: In general, breakfast led to a 2.5 times higher NIT compared to dinner, according to the study authors. At breakfast, blood sugar and insulin levels rose significantly more slowly in comparison.

Fasting in the morning does not make you slim

The conclusion of the Lübeck researchers: After a meal in the morning, generally more calories are burned than in the evening. This daily rhythm is maintained even with a low-calorie diet, for example during a weight loss diet. After a low-calorie breakfast, the appetite for sweets also increases during the day, which in turn leads to increased snacking.

The importance of the time of day for energy expenditure has been discussed contradictingly for years. The study proves that human energy expenditure is higher in the morning than in the evening, says Oltmanns.

This is important for overweight people who like to skip breakfast to lose weight and then eat a lot in the evening.

A follow-up study will examine the results of the study with regard to weight loss in overweight people. (eb)