If you’re looking to lose weight in a relatively simple fashion, then this newfound research should get you excited.
A major new study has revealed that eating a big breakfast, average lunch, and small dinner can significantly lower your Body Mass Index (BMI).
It’s one of the biggest data analyses of its kind, with researchers from California’s Loma Linda University School of Public Health accruing information from over 50,000 adults.
The nutritionists studied the eating habits and weights of the 50,000 participants over a seven-year span. They concluded there were four factors that helped lower BMI:
- Eating just 1-2 meals per day
- Fasting for 18 hours
- Eating breakfast
- Making breakfast or lunch the largest meal of your day
“Our results suggest that in relatively healthy adults, eating less frequently, no snacking, consuming breakfast, and eating the largest meal in the morning may be effective methods for preventing long-term weight gain,” the authors wrote in their research, published in the Journal of Nutrition.
“Eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart and making the overnight fast last 18 to 19 hours may be a useful practical strategy.”
BMI increases are the result of eating more than three meals per day, or snacking regularly. Interestingly, Dr. Hana Kahleova, one of the authors of the study, says the body is more likely to gain weight from eating 2,000 calories spread throughout the day, than in one sitting.
Eating an enormous breakfast was always thought to protect against weight gain. Professor Daniela Jakubowicz, author of The Big Breakfast Diet, found people who consumed most of their calories in the morning felt more satisfied, resulting in less snacking throughout the day. She also suggests that the time of day we eat impacts how our body processes food, which supports the findings of the new BMI study.
In another study, Professor Jakubowicz discovered that even eating chocolate in the morning could be beneficial, preventing cravings for sweets later on in the day.
“Eating the right foods at the wrong times can not only slow down weight loss, it can also be harmful,” she said.
“Our study found those in the big dinner group actually increased fat levels in their body, despite their weight loss.”
Related: Four Fascinating Breakfast Facts
Another intriguing discovery was eating a light dinner before 8pm isn’t necessarily the best; the new study suggests skipping dinner entirely, and fasting for 18 hours overnight, was one of the most influential factors in losing weight.
The study used Jennifer Aniston’s (in)famous method as an example of a way to keep weight down that may not work for everyone. Her technique of eating five small meals per day actually contradicts the most recent findings in this BMI study.
To keep yourself full until lunch, some robust breakfast ideas we recommend include a heaping helping of scrambled eggs, strawberry and chia seed smoothies, chopped eggs and avocado medley, and bejeweled pomegranate and pistachio bircher.
The old saying, ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper’, has never been more relevant!
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