Maybe Breakfast Really Is the Most Important Meal of the Day

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has at times been considered either apocryphal advice or serious nutrition wisdom. With much research on the subject funded by breakfast food marketers, some people look at these claims with a skeptical eye.

A new study published in Obesity provides some compelling data from a randomized, controlled trial about the value of breakfast for weight control. Women with metabolic syndrome and excess weight or obesity were randomized to get a light breakfast and a heavy dinner or a heavy breakfast and a light dinner for 12 weeks. Everyone got the same total calories and the same lunch.

Women who got the big breakfasts lost more weight and inches in their waists. They had better metabolic function and more satiety.

This comes on the heels of another study, presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting, showing that people with type 2 diabetes has better metabolic function and weight loss if they ate only a big breakfast and a big lunch than they did if they divided the same amount of food into six smaller meals throughout the day. The study was a randomized, controlled, crossover design for a total of 24 weeks.

Commenting on this study, Madelyn Fernstrom of UPMC said:

Three meals a day is going to be more workable. When you translate it to real life, this could be a good way to go – hearty breakfast, medium lunch, and then a lighter dinner.”

Surely more research and analysis will follow, but things are looking good for the importance of breakfast.

Click here to read the study in Obesity, click here to read the abstract presented at the ADA meeting, and click here and here to read more commentary on the subject.

Honey and Marmalade, photograph © Laura Thorne / flickr

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