|If you want to lose weight you need to make sure you get a good breakfast. Try asking Google. But a small study done in 1997 showed that athletes may not be taking the best approach to dieting if they put too much emphasis on breakfast. Doing this means you lose lean body mass – in other words muscle mass.
Since that experiment, nearly all real and self-appointed slimming experts will tell you have to eat breakfast if you want to lose weight. The more of your daily calories you consume in the morning, the more of those calories you’ll burn, the story goes. The more calories you eat early in the morning, the higher your rate of metabolism and the more calories you burn. Ergo: breakfasting makes you slim.
In bodybuilding manuals you sometimes come across advice to strength athletes to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. This was often accompanied by a photo of a broad-shouldered grinning hulk sitting at a table in front of a couple of pints of milk, a bunch of bananas, four kilograms of cottage cheese, a hunk of raw meat, a plate of brown rice and a couple of dozen boiled eggs. And the caption would be: A strength athlete’s day starts with a good breakfast.
The women were divided into 2 groups. One group followed the AM-pattern for the first 6 weeks of the study. For this the women consumed 70 percent of their daily calorie intake at breakfast. The other half followed the PM-pattern, consuming 70 percent of their daily calories at dinner.
After 6 weeks the women changed over their eating pattern. The women who had started with the AM-pattern then did 6 weeks on the PM-pattern; the women who had started with the PM-pattern did the next 6 weeks on the AM-pattern.
These graphs summarise the most important findings from the study. They show the average body weight development and body composition during 6 weeks of dieting on the PM- and AM-patterns.