Busting the Big Breakfast Myth
If you ever had it drummed into you as a child that eating a big breakfast was necessary to set you up for the day ahead, then this post is for you. The so-called "breakfast of champions" idea certainly isn't a new one and there are various claims surrounding it. Some of the more popular notions are that, if you consume the majority of your daily calories early, you'll stabilise your metabolism, have more energy, and, as an added bonus, will lose weight.
They say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Well, in this instance, it seems that "they" are correct.
According to a recent study conducted by a group of researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, packing your calories into a big breakfast and then eating smaller amounts throughout the rest of the day doesn't have any impact on weight loss.
The study consisted of 41 overweight adults (with BMIs between 30 and 49.9 kg/m2) and took place over a 12-week timeframe. The average age of participants was 59, most had prediabetes or diabetes and they were split into two randomised groups, each following different eating patterns:
Group 1 followed a TRF (time-restricted feeding) regime, meaning that they consumed 80% of their daily calories before 1 pm.
Group 2 followed a UFP (usual feeding pattern) regime, meaning that they consumed 50% of their daily calories after 5 pm.
Importantly, both groups were given the same diet with the same nutrient and food content and they were only allowed to consume food that was prepared for them.
The results are summed up succinctly by one of the study's researchers, Dr Nisa Maruthur, who said:
"We thought that the time-restricted group would lose more weight. Yet that didn't happen. We did not see any difference in weight loss for those who ate most of their calories earlier versus later in the day. We did not see any effects on blood pressure either."
She also added that she'd wondered for a long time about whether the time of eating could affect the way the body uses and stores energy and authored the study because most prior ones didn't control the number of calories. Because of this, it wasn't clear whether people who ate earlier in the day just ate fewer calories as a result.
So there you have it, myth well and truly busted.... well, according to this particular study anyway.
There's no shortage of diet fads, regimes, and other weight loss concepts (e.g. intermittent fasting) and it's always tricky when trying to tell the difference between what's fact and what's fiction; particularly if your chosen method can have a direct impact on your health and wellbeing. This is why we always recommend consulting with your GP prior to embarking on any diet or significant change to your daily eating habits.