Research has highlighted an unlikely way to stay slim – the Big Breakfast diet.

Tucking into lots of calories at the start of the day can assist weight loss, a study has shown.

But, for the diet to work, a heavy breakfast must be balanced by a light supper.

Scientists studied 93 obese women who were split into two groups. Both groups ate 1,400 calories daily. One consumed half their total calorie allowance at breakfast time, the other consumed half at dinner.

After 12 weeks, women in the “big breakfast” group had each lost an average of 17.8lbs. Women in the “big dinner” group lost 7.3lb.

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