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Big Breakfast Equals Smaller Waist?

A recent study suggests that when you eat is just as important to weight loss as what you eat.  The results of this research study were published in the journal Obesity.

Tel Aviv University researchers conducted this study.  They wanted to determine if there is a demonstrable link between obesity and the time of day food is eaten.  Researchers also examined how eating times impacted the heart health and insulin levels of participants. 

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aging defines an obese person as someone who has a high degree of body fat and is very overweight.  An obese person also has a Body Mass Index of over 30.  The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that 3 out of every 5 Australian adults are considered overweight or obese.

For the Tel Aviv University study, 93 obese women were randomly divided into two groups.  The women in each group ate 1,400 calories per day for 12 weeks.  Their diet included moderate amounts of carbohydrates and fats.  One group was given a 700 calorie breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 200 at dinner.  The other group was given the exact opposite, 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch, and 700 at dinner.  

Identical foods were eaten at the 700 calorie breakfast and the 700 calorie dinner.  For both groups, this meal included a dessert item like cake or a cookie.

At the end of the 12-week period, the women of the “big breakfast” group had lost an average of three inches off of their waist and 17.8 pounds.  The women of the “little breakfast” group had only lost 1.4 inches off of their waist and 7.3 pounds.  

Professor Daniela Jakubowicz of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Diabetes Unit at Wolfson Medical Centre was the study’s lead researcher.  “Metabolism is impacted by the body’s circadian rhythm – the biological process that the body follows over a 24 hour cycle,” said Jakubowicz.  This means that the way the body digests and absorbs food is greatly impacted by the time of day that food is eaten.

Researchers also found the women of the “big breakfast” group had much lower levels of the hormone ghrelin.  Grhelin regulates feelings of hunger.  Lower levels of ghrelin indicate that the “big breakfast” group women felt fuller and were not interested in snacking throughout the day like the women in the “little breakfast” group.

This study also concluded that even though the women of the “big breakfast” group ate a dessert item every day, they had better overall health.  These women demonstrated dramatically lower levels of glucose, triglycerides, and insulin.  This means that they had a lower risk of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension than their “little breakfast” group counterparts.  

The women of the “little breakfast” group were found to have increased levels of triglycerides, even though they had lost weight and inches off of their waists.

As researchers monitored the levels of glucose in both groups, they noted that the “big breakfast” group did not experience high spikes in blood glucose levels.  These spikes are normal after a meal and can cause high blood pressure and strain on the heart.

The study pointed out that eating healthy foods on a schedule and regularly exercising will result in the highest amount of weight loss and better overall health.   This means no more late night snacks.  

Jacubowicz said, “Mindless eating in front of the computer or television, especially in the late evening hours, is a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic.”



SOURCES:…; Image courtesy of Ambro /

SOURCES:…; Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net