New research finds that breakfast time matters

A new study published at the University of Roehampton has found a connection between the timing of food intake and body mass index.

Posted: 18 June 2014

image for news story New research finds that breakfast time matters
The study was funded by Kellogg’s and designed by Drs Sue Reeves, Lewis Halsey and Professor Jörg W. Huber. It sought to investigate the effect of breakfast and morning fasting on daily food intake in normal and overweight participants.

Thirty-seven people took part in the study and were assigned to one of four groups based on their body mass index (BMI) – normal weight or overweight/obese and breakfast habits (breakfast eater or breakfast skipper).

All participants were asked to eat breakfast for a week, and then following a washout period, omit breakfast for a week, or vice versa. Seven-day food diaries reporting what was consumed and the timing of consumption were completed for each breakfast condition.

The study revealed:
• More energy was consumed in the breakfast week compared to the no breakfast week however:
• Overweight participants consumed greater amounts of energy early evening.
• Breakfast skippers consumed more than breakfast eaters later in the evening.
• Less carbohydrate, calcium, and folate were eaten in the no breakfast condition.
• Timing of food intake and habitual eating behaviour are important considerations.

Dr Sue Reeves said: “We will be conducting further research to look for a mechanism to explain differences in BMI between breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers with a focus on metabolism and physiological mechanisms.”

The study is a collaboration between Dr Reeves, Dr Halsey, Yasmin Horabady-Farahani and Mehrnaz Ijadi from the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Roehampton, Professor Huber from Centre for Health Research, University of Brighton, and Dr Smith from the Institute of Sport, University of Wolverhampton.

The research has been published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour and selected as a featured article in Obesity and Energetic Offerings, one of the leading resources in this subject area. The study can be read in full here.

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