Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This belief has been reinforced over the years, with many claiming that the calories consumed earlier on in the day are less impactful than the ones consumed late at night.
A new study suggests that there might be other answers, and that the time of the meal might not matter when it comes to weight loss and weight gain.
Published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the study claims that there’s no difference between eating a lot in the mornings versus the evenings. It also found no links between having a big breakfast and a more active metabolism.
The study rounded up different participants, all of who were healthy but overweight. For one-half of the study, which lasted four weeks, participants ate 45% of their assigned calories in the morning meal, 35% at lunch, and 20% at dinner. For the next four weeks, the schedule was reversed for the same participants, who began consuming most of their calories at night. The clinical trial concluded that the time of the meals had no impact on weight loss.
The study was very controlled, suggesting that the results were no fluke. Researchers provided meals for all participants while also controlling for outside factors and monitoring energy expenditure and body composition.
While it appears that people’s metabolism isn’t kickstarted by a bigger meal in the mornings, big breakfast eaters did experience less hunger throughout the day. This is important for weight loss since it creates a link between a big breakfast and appetite control.
The study shows some interesting evidence, one that contradicts a variety of data and research on how the human metabolism works. Still, these results are not definitive. Researchers say that the study could have been impacted by its time constraints with an eight-week period not being sufficient to impact the metabolism or to notice weight fluctuations in participants.