Nutrition

Curb Excess Snacking With A Big Breakfast, Study Suggests

Just like making your bed when you get out of it, it’s a small win that can start the day off right. Even if you’re not a morning person, you can’t tell me that a hearty stack of pancakes doesn’t force you to smile – even if it’s before 9am.

We’re huge advocates for breakfast. We’ve got recipes that will help you get up, products that make your mornings so much easier, and did we mention our recipes?

And if you weren’t already a huge breakfast fan, perhaps this recent study (published in the journal Cell Metabolism) will whet your appetite. The main premise – bigger breakfasts are better for controlling appetite1. We’re gonna need to hear more on that.

 

The study

Scientists recently completed a study on ‘chrono-nutrition’. Or in simple terms, assessing how the food we eat is affected by our internal clock. For example, the evening might be a bad time to eat because the body clock is already shifting your metabolism towards sleep. That’s just one idea anyway.

To understand the topic some more, researchers employed 30 volunteers. They each had their meals prepared for them for two months equating to 1,700kcal a day. By the way, this meal-prep sounds like a dream – it would definitely save time on a Sunday.

For the first month of the research, the participants ate a big meal at the start of the day – equating to roughly half of their daily calorie intake. Then followed by a smaller lunch and evening meal. The breakfasts varied from yoghurts, smoothies, sausages, mushrooms – all with plenty of protein, of course.

And for the second month, the participants ate a bigger meal in the evening. Their metabolic rates were measured throughout the experiment using doubly labelled water – which can be tracked as it leaves the body.

 

The results

As the participants were eating the same amount of calories in each month, it’s no surprise that they didn’t lose any weight depending on when they ate the calories. We know from our nutritionist, Richie, that losing weight is all about the calorie deficit. Unfortunately there are no sustainable quick wins when it comes to weight loss.

However, the researchers were keen to see whether metabolic rate throughout the day had any impact on calories burned. But again, this made no difference.

However, the study did reveal that a big breakfast helped to reduce the appetite of the participants throughout the day. But why is this relevant? It’s important to remember the volunteers were on a strict meal plan – with no room for snacking. Therefore they were eating the same amount of calories daily – regardless of their hunger levels.

In the real world, when the clock strikes 11am and your snack cupboard is only five feet away, you’ll be hard pressed to resist a snack. Especially if breakfast consisted of just a banana and slice of toast. But the theory is a big breakfast helped to control appetite levels throughout the whole day.

 

Take home message

Consider this the sign that you needed to take back your mornings. This study suggests grazing habits and feelings of hunger can be curbed by a big breakfast. Level up your breakfast and your body will thank you for it all day long.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.


  1. https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(22)00344-8


Emily Wilcock

Emily Wilcock

Writer and expert

Emily is studying Business Management & Marketing at the University of Birmingham and is currently on her intern year. She has a keen interest in both writing and fitness, so is happy she can now combine the two. She likes to spend time with her friends, both in & out of the gym.


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