The study by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University found that a big breakfast increases fertility among women who suffer from menstrual irregularities.
The study examined whether meal times have an impact on the health of woman with menstrual irregularities due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS affects approximately 6-10 per cent of women of reproductive age, disrupting their reproductive abilities. This syndrome creates a resistance to insulin, leading to an increase in male sex hormones (androgens), and can also cause menstrual irregularities, hair loss on the scalp though increase in body hair, acne, fertility problems and future diabetes.
The experiment was carried out at Wolfson Medical Center on 60 women over a 12-week period. The women, from the ages of 25 to 39, were thin with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 23 and suffered from PCOS.
The women were divided into two groups and were allowed to consume about 1,800 calories a day. The difference between the groups was the timing of their largest meal. One group consumed their largest meal, approximately 980 calories, at breakfast, while the other at dinner.
Researchers wanted to examine whether the schedule of calorie intake affects insulin resistance and the increase in androgens among woman suffering from PCOS. The findings showed improved results for the group that consumed a big breakfast.
Glucose levels and insulin resistance decreased by 8 per cent, while the second group ("dinner") showed no changes. Another finding showed that among the "breakfast" group, testosterone (one of the androgens) levels decreased by nearly 50 per cent, while the "dinner" group level stayed neutral.
In addition, there was a much higher rate of ovulating woman within the "breakfast group" compared to the "dinner" group, showing that eating a hearty breakfast leads to an increase in the level of fertility among woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
The study was published in the journal Clinical Science.