Bigger the breakfast, the slimmer you get

BREAKFAST Has long been trumpeted as the most important meal of the day, particularly for those who want to lose weight.

Now scientists have proved that it is - and say the bigger the bowl, the better.

A study has shown that women who eat around half of their daily calories first thing lose more weight in the long term than those who start the day with a small breakfast.

And they are also less likely to pile the pounds back on.

It is thought that eating a meal packed with protein and carbohydrates helps cut cravings for sweet or starchy foods, as well as boosting the metabolism.

Researchers from the Hospital de Clinicas in Caracas, Venezuela, looked at how breakfasting habits affected the weight of almost 100 obese young women.

All were put on a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet. However, half had a big breakfast, taking in almost half of their day’s ration of 1,240 calories in a single high-protein, high carbohydrate meal.

Halfway through the eight-month study, the women eating small breakfasts had lost an average of two stone - around 5lb more than the “big breakfast” dieters.

But their lead did not last. After eight months, the small breakfasters had regained an average of 18lb.

In contrast, the big breakfasters continued to lose weight, shedding another 16.5lb on average. At the end of the study those eating big breakfasts had lost more than 21 per cent of their body weight compared with just 4.5 per cent for the other women, the Endocrine Society’s annual conference in San Francisco heard yesterday.

Women on the “big breakfast” diet reported feeling less hungry, especially before lunch, and having fewer cravings for carbohydrates.

Researcher Dr Daniela Jakubowicz has been recommending diets based around a big breakfast to patients for more than 15 years.

She said that popular diets which merely restrict carbohydrates often fail because they do not curb cravings for calorie-rich foods.

The study is far from the first to make a link between breakfasting habits and weight.

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