March 2, 2024

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Study Finds Breakfast Calories Control Appetite and Aid Weight Loss

Study Finds Breakfast Calories Control Appetite and Aid Weight Loss

Study Finds Breakfast Calories Control Appetite and Aid Weight Loss

For those looking to control their weight, skipping or reducing dinner is a common practice. But is it a scientifically sound method for weight loss?

A recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism by the research team led by Professor Alexandra M. Johnstone from the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen in the UK suggests that when daily caloric intake is fixed, whether you eat more in the morning or evening, the weight loss and energy expenditure are similar. However, consuming more calories in the morning may help control appetite, potentially aiding in weight loss.

The study conducted two randomized crossover experiments lasting four weeks each. Thirty participants, all overweight or obese adults with a BMI of 27-42 kg/m² and otherwise healthy, were involved. Fourteen were initially assigned to the Morning Loaded (ML) diet group, where breakfast intake was higher, and 16 were assigned to the Evening Loaded (EL) diet group, where dinner intake was higher. The caloric distribution for ML was 45% in the morning, 35% at noon, and 20% in the evening, while for EL, it was 20%, 35%, and 45%, respectively. Additionally, there were no differences in the intake of nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Study Finds Breakfast Calories Control Appetite and Aid Weight Loss

In contrast to expectations, the ML diet did not lead to more significant weight loss compared to the EL diet (ML, Δ-3.33 kg; EL, Δ-3.38 kg). Moreover, changes in body composition, apart from weight, were similar, regardless of whether participants ate more in the morning or evening.

However, researchers found that the ML diet led to reduced appetite and hunger. Using visual analog scales (VAS) to assess subjective changes in appetite, the ML diet resulted in significantly lower daily hunger, eating desire, expected consumption, thirst, and overall appetite scores. Therefore, the ML diet induced a stronger feeling of fullness, potentially reducing calorie intake at lunch and dinner, contributing to weight loss.

The researchers attributed this effect to the role of gut hormones in regulating appetite and gastric emptying rate (slower at night). Compared to an EL breakfast, the ML breakfast led to significantly higher levels of appetite-suppressing gut hormones (PYY, GIP, and GLP-1). The stronger appetite inhibition in the ML diet was partly due to the larger meal size and calorie load, prolonging the duration of gastric emptying.

Furthermore, both ML and EL weight loss diets resulted in similar changes in glucose, insulin, and lipid levels, with no differences in energy expenditure.

In addition to the quality and quantity of the diet, the timing of meals throughout the day is closely linked to metabolic health. A study published in Nature Communication on December 14th highlighted the association between later intake of breakfast and dinner and an increased overall risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, while eating at night may not necessarily lead to weight gain, it is advisable to ensure a reasonable intake during normal dinner hours, promoting not only weight loss but also overall health.

In summary, when controlling the overall daily caloric intake, eating more during any specific mealtime does not have a significant impact on weight. However, having a substantial breakfast may result in a stronger sense of fullness throughout the day. Nevertheless, it’s essential to control overall caloric intake, as for those aiming to lose weight, eating less does not necessarily guarantee weight loss, but eating more is likely to lead to weight gain.

Study Finds Breakfast Calories Control Appetite and Aid Weight Loss


[1] Ruddick-Collins LC, Morgan PJ, Fyfe CL, Filipe JAN, Horgan GW, Westerterp KR, Johnston JD, Johnstone AM. Timing of daily calorie loading affects appetite and hunger responses without changes in energy metabolism in healthy subjects with obesity. Cell Metab. 2022 Oct 4; 34(10): 1472-1485.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2022.08.001.

[2] Palomar-Cros A, Andreeva VA, Fezeu LK, Julia C, Bellicha A, Kesse-Guyot E, Hercberg S, Romaguera D, Kogevinas M, Touvier M, Srour B. Dietary circadian rhythms and cardiovascular disease risk in the prospective NutriNet-Santé cohort. Nat Commun. 2023 Dec 14;14(1):7899. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-43444-3.

(source:internet, reference only)

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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.