A big breakfast is the key to controlling appetite, study finds

A big breakfast could be the key to controlling your appetite, researchers have suggested.

A new small-scale study from the University of Aberdeen found that eating a larger breakfast and a smaller dinner could aid weight loss as it resulted in participants feeling less hungry.

The research, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, set out to investigate “chrono-nutrition” and how the food we eat affects our internal body clock.

Other findings of the study included that people burn the same amount of calories no matter when they have their biggest meal of the day, and that appetite is noticeably smaller after a big breakfast which could make it easier to stick to a diet.

The researchers followed a group of 30 study participants who had all of their meals prepared for them across a period of two months totalling a daily intake of around 1,700 calories.

The recommended calorie intake to maintain your weight, according to the NHS, is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.

The participants spent one month having a big breakfast which totalled nearly half of their daily calories and was followed by a smaller lunch and dinner.

The following month the participants ate their big meal in the evening and had smaller meals for breakfast and lunch.

Breakfasts in the study included smoothies, yoghurts, eggs, sausages and mushrooms. There was an emphasis placed on protein, which can help to keep you full.

Researchers measured the participant’s metabolisms by using doubly labelled water, which is denser than regular water and can be tracked when it leaves the body.

The scientists found that the timing of the bigger meal didn’t make a difference in how many calories were burned during the day, to the participant’s resting metabolic rate, or how much weight they lost.

However, they did find that a big breakfast suppressed participant’s appetites and hunger levels.

“The studies suggest, for appetite control, the big breakfast was a winner,” study author, Professor Alexandra Johnstone, told the BBC.

“If you can start your day with a healthy big breakfast, you are more likely to maintain physical activity levels and maintain that control over appetite for the remainder of the day.”

Johnstone added that the results are different to most people’s eating habits, as many people have smaller breakfasts and larger dinners.

The scientists are now looking at what happens when shift workers eat in the middle of the night, and want to look at the best time for eating whether you are a morning person or an evening person.

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