Study Shows Portion Size Matters, and a Big Breakfast Means You Need to Cut Calories the Rest of the Day
By Nicky Broyd
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Rob Hicks, MD
Jan. 18, 2011 -- Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, but new research shows it doesn't have to be big to count.
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The role of breakfast in daily energy intake has long been a matter of scientific debate. Studies have yielded mixed results, so many people are not sure whether eating a big breakfast helps weight loss or if it's better to skip breakfast altogether.
However, new research published in BioMed Central's Nutrition Journal clears a path through these apparently contradictory reports.
The New Research
Volker Schusdziarra, MD, of the Else-Kröner-Fresenius Center of Nutritional Medicine in Munich conducted a study on 380 normal weight and obese people who were asked to keep a journal of what they ate. Within the group, sometimes people ate a big breakfast, sometimes small, and sometimes skipped it altogether.
Schusdziarra says in a news release that "the results of the study showed that people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of what they had for breakfast." This means that a big breakfast resulted in a total increase in calories eaten over the day by about 400 calories.
The only difference seen was the skipping of a mid-morning snack when someone ate a really big breakfast; however, this was not enough to offset the extra calories they had already eaten.
The German researchers conclude there is no magic and that in the fight for weight loss, eating a large breakfast must be balanced by eating substantially less the rest of the day.
According to the CDC, maintaining a healthy weight should involve healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you take in with the number of calories the body uses.
SOURCES: News release, BioMed Central.Schusdziarra, V. Nutrition Journal.CDC.
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