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60-Second Health

Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal for Dieters

Women who ate half of 1,400 daily calories at breakfast lost almost 80 percent more weight than women who ate half their 1,400 calories at dinner. Katherine Harmon reports

Your mother was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day—especially if you're looking to lose weight. And the bigger the better, according to a new study in the journal Obesity. [Daniela Jakubowicz et al., High Calorie Intake at Breakfast versus Dinner Differentially Influences Weight Loss of Overweight and Obese Women]

But shouldn't a calorie be just a calorie, whether it's eaten morning, noon or night? Not quite. Timing, it turns out, is key.

The study included 93 overweight or obese women. Half the women ate 700-calorie breakfasts, 500-calorie lunches and 200-calorie dinners. The other reversed it, with a 200-calorie breakfast, the same 500-calorie lunch and a 700-calorie dinner.

After three months, those eating the jumbo breakfasts lost an average of 17.8 pounds and three inches from their waistlines—10 pounds and an inch-and-a-half more than the group having skimpy breakfasts and big dinners.

Those who ate the big breakfasts also had better insulin control, and improved glucose and triglyceride levels for the rest of the day than those who ate more of their calories late. So when you're thinking about skipping breakfast again, think of mom—and eat something substantial before you leave the house!

—Katherine Harmon

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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