Do people burn more calories if they eat a big breakfast rather than a big dinner?

Scientists provided diets with 1,700 calories to 30 people with overweight or obesity for two 4-week periods.

During the big-breakfast period, they got 45 percent of their calories at breakfast and 20 percent at dinner. During the big-dinner period, the percentages were flipped. (Lunch was always 35 percent of calories.)

The researchers found no difference in calories burned or weight lost (about 7 pounds). However, people reported less hunger on the big-breakfast diet, which could have led them to eat less if they hadn’t been encouraged to eat all the provided food. (Note: One of the authors had previously consulted for Kellogg.)

What to do

Most studies find that when you eat doesn’t change how many calories you burn or how much weight you lose. But if you think that a big breakfast might curb your hunger for longer, it’s worth a try.

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