Eating a big breakfast rather than a large dinner may prevent obesity and high blood sugar, according to study which may lead to better clinical dietary recommendations to reduce body weight and prevent metabolic diseases.
The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, assessed 16 men who consumed a low-calorie breakfast and high-calorie dinner -- and vice versa in a second round -- over the course of three days.
"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," said the study's corresponding author, Juliane Richter from the University of Lubeck in Germany.
"This finding is significant for all people as it underlines the value of eating enough at breakfast," Richter said.
According to the researchers, the human body expends energy when it digests food for the absorption, digestion, transport, and storage of nutrients -- a process, known as diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT).
They said DIT is a measure of how well our metabolism is working, and can differ depending on mealtime.
In the study, they found that identical calorie consumption led to 2.5 times higher DIT in the morning than in the evening after high-calorie and low-calorie meals.
The food-induced increase of blood sugar and insulin concentrations was diminished after breakfast compared with dinner, the scientists said.
Eating a low-calorie breakfast increased appetite, specifically for sweets, they added.
"We recommend that patients with obesity as well as healthy people eat a large breakfast rather than a large dinner to reduce body weight and prevent metabolic diseases," Richter said.