Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper to stay healthy, say scientists
The old adage ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ could be the best way to lose weight and stay healthy, Kings College scientists say.
A major review of 28 recent studies has concluded that keeping calories down late at night is the secret to combating obesity.
Researchers warn that modern lifestyles have led to many people dining later in the day, or at irregular intervals, which is confusing the body's circadian rhythms and hindering digestion.
Most people in the UK increases their energy intake across the day, with breakfast providing the fewest calories and dinner the most.
But recent trials have shown that people who eat the most in the morning experience greater weight loss and improve blood sugar levels even when consuming the same amount of calories overall.
Many metabolic processes such as appetite, digestion and the metabolism of fat, cholesterol and glucose follow a circadian pattern.
However most national dietary guidelines focus on ‘what’ people should eat in terms of food and nutrients, with only a few also providing recommendations on ‘when’ to eat over the course of a day.
Dr Gerda Pot, Visiting Lecturer in the Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division at King’s College London says: “There seems to be some truth in the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’, however, this warrants further investigation.”
“Whilst we have a much better understanding today of what we should be eating, we are still left with the question as to which meal should provide us with the most energy.
“Although the evidence suggests that eating more calories later in the evening is associated with obesity, we are still far from understanding whether our energy intake should be distributed equally across the day or whether breakfast should contribute the greatest proportion of energy, followed by lunch and dinner.”
The scientists also claim that people should also consider ‘with whom we eat’, as well as what we eat and when. Regular family meals contribute to healthy eating habits in children and adolescents, they conclude on current evidence.
The review was published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.