Doing away with breakfast, an open door to unbridled eating?

Doing away with breakfast, an open door to unbridled eating?

According to a British study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the old adage “in the morning eats like a king, at noon eats like a prince and in the evening like a beggar” should not be taken literally. The timing of the meal would indeed have little influence on the weight.

For four weeks, the 30 study participants, obese or overweight, followed one of two diets: about half of them consumed 45% of their daily calories at breakfast, then 35% at lunch and 20% at dinner. The other half consumed 20% of their daily calories at breakfast, then 35% at lunch and 45% at dinner. Then the groups followed the opposite diet for another four weeks.

At the end of the experiment, the scientists found that participants lost about the same number of pounds on both diets. The timing of the meal would therefore not have an influence on weight loss, even if people who ate a “big” breakfast declared that they were less hungry during the day. In the long term, it could therefore be that a hearty breakfast still helps to lose weight.

Intermittent fasting

Nathalie Delzenne, professor of metabolism and nutrition at UCLouvain, does not hide her skepticism about the results of the study. She recalls that not all people react the same way to food, each individual having very individual and personal metabolic characteristics. “Today, it is the big fashion to observe intermittent fasting, that is to say precisely to bypass breakfast and restrict eating periods over a shorter period. Some only eat, for example, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Even if certain experimental data reveal that intermittent fasting has certain advantages, in particular that of avoiding pancreatic fatigue in the secretion of insulin and promoting weight loss, it takes away a lot from the conviviality of the meal, since the person does not only eats for a few hours of the day.

The door to unbridled eating

The professor is not in favor of a total abolition of breakfast. “In our regions, breakfast is traditionally a meal in which we find nutrient intake, that is to say dairy products, fruit, fiber intake via wholemeal bread or certain cereals. And we notice that when people bypass breakfast, they will not necessarily turn to these foods later in the day. I’m afraid that if we give way to anarchy, it will be the door open to unbridled eating“.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to eat in the morning. “There are people who aren’t hungry in the morning or who can’t manage to have a very balanced breakfast in the morning, because they leave very early, for example. There is no obligation, you have to listen to yourself. Someone who is not hungry at all, and who eats to eat, who sometimes takes biscuits to say that he has had his breakfast, it is no better than someone who takes an apple and a toast at 10.30 a.m. ”.

Lighten up in the evening

Nathalie Delzenne emphasizes the importance of distribute the caloric load when energy expenditure is needed. And advises to have a light meal in the evening. “When we go to sleep, we don’t want to have a meal where all the hormones and enzymes require energy to digest properly. It is much more difficult to digest in the evening than at noon. If we had the caloric load that we needed during the day, we must lighten up in the evening, ”recommends the professor.

“You have to be reasonable and listen to yourself, whether it’s food or physical exercise. And adopt them in accordance with their rhythm and type of life, ”she concludes.


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