Fitness | Study: Breakfast is key to losing weight

In a recent study, a Tel Aviv University professor found that those who eat their largest daily meal at breakfast are far more likely to lose weight and waistline circumference than those who eat a large dinner.

And the benefits go far beyond pounds and inches, according to Daniela Jakubowicz of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Diabetes Unit at Wolfson Medical Center.

Participants who ate a larger breakfast also had significantly lower levels of insulin, glucose and triglycerides throughout the day — translating into a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

These results, published recently in the journal Obesity, indicate that proper meal timing can make an important contribution toward managing obesity and promoting an overall healthy lifestyle.

To determine the impact of meal timing on weight loss and health, Jakubowicz and fellow researchers Dr. Julio Wainstein of TAU and Dr. Maayan Barnea and Prof. Oren Froy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem randomly assigned 92 obese women to one of two isocaloric groups. Each consumed a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-fat diet totaling 1,400 calories daily for a period of 12 weeks. The first group consumed 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at dinner. The second group ate a 200-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 700-calorie dinner. The 700- calorie meals included the same foods.

By the end of the study, those in the “big breakfast” group had lost an average of 17.8 pounds each and three inches off their waist, compared to a 7.3 pound and 1.4 inch loss for participants in the “big dinner” group. The big breakfast group also showed a more significant decrease in insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels than those in the big dinner group, and did not experience the high spikes in blood-glucose levels that typically occur after a meal.