Twice as High Diet-Induced Thermogenesis After Breakfast vs Dinner On High-Calorie as Well as Low-Calorie Meals

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Mar 1;105(3):dgz311. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz311.


Background: The question of whether there is daytime time variation in diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) has not been clearly answered. Moreover, it is unclear whether a potential diurnal variation in DIT is preserved during hypocaloric nutrition.

Objective: We hypothesized that DIT varies depending on the time of day and explored whether this physiological regulation is preserved after low-calorie compared with high-calorie intake.

Design: Under blinded conditions, 16 normal-weight men twice underwent a 3-day in-laboratory, randomized, crossover study. Volunteers consumed a predetermined low-calorie breakfast (11% of individual daily kilocalorie requirement) and high-calorie dinner (69%) in one condition and vice versa in the other. DIT was measured by indirect calorimetry, parameters of glucose metabolism were determined, and hunger and appetite for sweets were rated on a scale.

Results: Identical calorie consumption led to a 2.5-times higher DIT increase in the morning than in the evening after high-calorie and low-calorie meals (P < .001). The food-induced increase of blood glucose and insulin concentrations was diminished after breakfast compared with dinner (P < .001). Low-calorie breakfast increased feelings of hunger (P < .001), specifically appetite for sweets (P = .007), in the course of the day.

Conclusions: DIT is clearly higher in the morning than in the evening, irrespective of the consumed calorie amount; that is, this physiological rhythmicity is preserved during hypocaloric nutrition. Extensive breakfasting should therefore be preferred over large dinner meals to prevent obesity and high blood glucose peaks even under conditions of a hypocaloric diet.

Keywords: diet-induced thermogenesis; diurnal rhythmicity; food intake; glucose metabolism; normal-weight men.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Breakfast / physiology
  • Caloric Restriction / adverse effects*
  • Caloric Restriction / methods
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet / methods
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Meals / physiology*
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin

Associated data

  • DRKS/DRKS00009851