Is advice for breakfast consumption justified? Results from a short-term dietary and metabolic experiment in young healthy men

Br J Nutr. 2000 Sep;84(3):337-44. doi: 10.1017/s0007114500001616.


Short-term (2 weeks) effects of the consumption of a high-energy (2920 kJ (700 kcal)) or low-energy (418 kJ (100 kcal)) breakfast on dietary patterns, blood variables and energy expenditure (indirect calorimetry) were compared in ten free-living healthy young men in a crossover study. During the high-energy breakfast, total energy intake was increased, the intake of protein and lipids was unchanged but the intake of carbohydrates was increased. Thus, 48 (sd 4)% of energy came from carbohydrates in the high-energy breakfast compared with 42 (sd 5)% in the low-energy breakfast. Excluding breakfast, the macronutrient composition of the diet remained identical in the two situations. After the high-energy breakfast, fasting serum triacylglycerol concentration was higher and HDL-cholesterol concentration was lower than after the low-energy breakfast. A high glycaemic response was observed in the morning after the high-energy breakfast period, while there was a peak of free fatty acids after the low-energy breakfast. The high-energy breakfast induced a strong inhibition of fat oxidation throughout the day. Although long-term adaptation to a high-energy breakfast cannot be excluded, the high-energy breakfast in this study did not appear to be favourable to health. Our results do not support the current advice to consume more energy at breakfast.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Eating*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Policy


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats