The Tasty Big Breakfast Theory

Eat One: Get Smart & Lose Weight

There's a reason breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. But its benefits are backed by science.

By John Salak –

How many times have you heard: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Probably more times than you want to remember. Face it. No one wants to be lectured, especially in the morning when chances are you’ve don’t have a lot of time to sit down to a heaping serving of something. Well, maybe you should make the time—and not just because your mother, grandmother, significant other or righteous roommate is spouting off about the morning meal.

Researchers at the University of Lübeck in Germany just recently reported that eating a big breakfast instead of a big dinner is a sound way to lose weight, prevent obesity and control high blood sugar. These scientists came to the big breakfast theory following a comparative study on the amount of energy a person expends in digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing nutrients. The process is known diet-inducing thermogenesis (DIT).

After running 16 men through alternate meal patterns—high caloric breakfast and low caloric dinners and vice versa—they discovered DIT ran to 2.5 times higher in the morning than in the evening. The results also revealed that eating a small or low-calorie breakfast often led to late afternoon appetite surges that specifically targeted sweets.

“Our results show that a meal eaten for breakfast, regardless of the amount of calories it contains, creates twice as high diet-induced thermogenesis as the same meal consumed for dinner,” explained the study’s author, Juliane Richter of University of Lübeck.

The benefits of eating a big breakfast apparently don’t end with weight loss and controlling blood sugar that contributes to diabetes. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology noted two years ago that a good breakfast can also help reduce the risk atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing and hardening of arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Robust breakfasts aren’t only good for your heart, they buck up the brain. The morning meal helps kickstart your metabolism, which allows children, teens and adults to concentrate more effectively at school and work, reports Dr. Osama Hamdy of the Joslin Diabetes Center.

“The only way to jump start your metabolism for the day is to start off right with a healthy breakfast. This will allow your body to start burning through calories from the very beginning of the day, rather than in the middle of it after you’ve eaten lunch,” adds Webmd.com.

So should your breakfast table be laden with is bacon and eggs, grits, pancakes, waffles and biscuits and gravy? Probably not.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends combing carbs with proteins. Together the carbs will help get and keep you going through the day while the protein will help ward off unhealthy food cravings. Some options include:

  • Whole-grain cereals or bread for carbs
  • Low-fat milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese for protein
  • Fresh fruit or veggies, again for the carbs
  • Nuts or legumes for even more protein

So maybe listen to your mom, grandmother or significant other. Eat a good breakfast.


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