Bulk: Are calories time-dependent?

I think that practically everybody agrees that weight is a function of calorie intake …. offset by exercise and “normal” metabolic burn-off.

But, at our house at least, there has been an ongoing debate about whether calories consumed early in the day are more likely to be burned off than calories consumed later in the day.

You know, the “eat a big breakfast” thing … complemented with “late night calories turn to fat when you sleep”.




I skip breakfast most days, so I notice more articles saying “total calories are all that matter”

Technical note: It’s a known cognitive bias that people are selectively attentive to information that supports their existing points-of-view

Somehow, my eye caught an article with evidence to the contrary …


The WSJ reports …

Skipping breakfast and overeating in the evening have been shown to play a significant role in weight gain and obesity.

A study in the journal Obesity found that consuming the heaviest meal of the day at breakfast and the lightest at dinner can lead to significant weight loss.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University put 93 overweight women on a three-month, 1,400-calorie-a-day diet.

Half were assigned to a breakfast group (BF) that consumed 50% of the allotted daily calories at breakfast, 36% at lunch and 14% at dinner.

A dinner group (D) did the opposite, eating 14% of calories at breakfast, 36% at midday and 50% at dinner.

  • The BF subjects lost an average 19.1 pounds over 12 weeks, while the D group shed 7.9 pounds.
  • BF subjects trimmed 3.3 inches from their waistlines compared with 1.5 inches in D group;
  • body-mass index dropped 10% and 5% in the BF and D groups, respectively.
  • Average triglyceride levels, an indicator of cardiovascular health, decreased by 34% in BF subjects but increased by 15% in D subjects.
  • Total cholesterol slightly decreased in both groups but HDL levels, the so-called good cholesterol, increased significantly only in the BF group.
  • Levels of glucose, insulin and ghrelin, an appetite hormone, decreased significantly in both groups but to a greater extent in BF subjects.

Caveat: The study was too short to determine the long-term health benefits of high-energy intake at breakfast.


Small-scale study and short-duration … but, outcome is pretty compelling.

Gotta trust science.

Think I’ll go grab a Cinnabon …

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