Eating breakfast kick-starts genes linked to weight loss, new research reveals.
‘The most important meal of the day’ improves the expression of genes that help people to shift pounds, an Israeli study found.
Eating first thing in the morning also improves people’s blood glucose and insulin levels, the research adds, which could help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
‘When breakfast is skipped, genes related to weight loss are less expressed, leading to blood sugar spikes that can cause weight gain regardless of what people eat for the remainder of the day.
Study author Daniela Jakubowicz from Tel Aviv University (TAU), said: ‘Proper meal timing – such as consuming breakfast before 9:30am – could lead to an improvement of the entire metabolism of the body, facilitate weight loss, and delay complications associated with type 2 diabetes and other age-related disorders.’
This contradicts research released in October by the Universities of Loughborough and Bedfordshire that found fasting until lunch causes people to eat around 353 fewer calories a day and could promote weight loss.
You are what you think you eat, research revealed in September.
Believing you had a small breakfast makes people feel significantly hungrier just two hours later, a study found.
They also consume more food at lunch and take in more calories throughout the day, the research adds.
The memory of a small meal, as opposed to producing higher amounts of ‘hunger hormones’, is behind the results, according to the researchers.
Lead author Dr Steven Brown from Sheffield Hallam University, said: ‘We were able to measure participants’ consumption throughout the rest of the day and found that total intake was lower when participants believed that they had eaten a larger breakfast.’
How the research was carried out
Researchers from TAU and Hebrew University of Jerusalem analysed 36 volunteers, half of whom were obese.
All of the study’s participants had diabetes.
One day the participants ate just breakfast and lunch, while on the second day they had only lunch.
On both days, blood tests were taken to measure the participants’ internal body clock-related genes, as well as their glucose and insulin levels.
‘Proper meal timing could facilitate weight loss’
Result reveal eating breakfast boosts the expression of genes linked to weight loss.
Eating first thing in the morning also improves blood glucose and insulin levels.
Ms Jakubowicz said: ‘When breakfast is skipped, genes related to weight loss are less expressed, leading to blood sugar spikes that can cause weight gain regardless of what people eat for the remainder of the day.
‘Our study shows that breakfast consumption triggers the proper cyclic clock gene expression leading to improved glycaemic control.
‘The circadian clock gene not only regulates the circadian changes of glucose metabolism, but also regulates our body weight, blood pressure, endothelial function and atherosclerosis.
‘Proper meal timing – such as consuming breakfast before 9:30 am – could lead to an improvement of the entire metabolism of the body, facilitate weight loss, and delay complications associated with type 2 diabetes and other age- related disorders.’
Eating breakfast improves the expression of genes that help people to shift pounds
Contradicts past findings
These findings contradict previous studies that reveal skipping breakfast causes people to eat 353 fewer calories a day.
Although people eat around 115 more calories daily when they have breakfast, that meal alone contains on average 468 calories.
Consequently, skipping breakfast reduces a person’s calorie consumption by a total of 353 units.
Study author Dr Keith Tolfrey from the Loughborough University, said: ‘There is a common belief that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day”.
‘However, around one third of children and adolescents in many countries skip breakfast regularly.
‘There are many reports that show missing breakfast is associated with obesity, which may have led to premature assumptions that breakfast can be used as an intervention for weight control.
‘But we do not know why eating breakfast is associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight or obese, or whether eating breakfast can be used effectively as a weight-control strategy.’