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A big breakfast won't aid weight loss

18th January 2011

Researchers in Germany say that eating a big breakfast does not mean you will consume fewer calories later in the day.

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Instead, the team of nutritional scientists from Munich's Technical University found that people who ate a larger breakfast tended to eat the same over the rest of the day as when they ate a smaller breakfast.

Previous studies have suggested that people who eat more at breakfast are less hungry during the rest of the day.

The myth about a big breakfast aiding weight loss may be linked to research that found people who spent more of a fixed-calorie budget on breakfast ate less during the rest of the day.

Writing in Nutrition Journal, lead author Volker Schusdziarra, from the Else-Kröner-Fresenius Center of Nutritional Medicine, said that the available information about the role of breakfast energy in total daily energy intake was confusing.

The team initiated the study after reading conflicting conclusions from research that analysed results across a population, which suggested that eating a high calorie breakfast leads to greater overall intake.

They also looked at other studies which suggested that when people eat a higher proportion of their calories at breakfast then they eat fewer calories per day.

The team worked with 280 obese and 100 normal weight volunteers, who were asked to keep food diaries and record their food intake for up to two weeks.

Some of the participants ate a big breakfast, some had a small one, and some skipped it altogether.

Overall, they found that eating more calories at breakfast was linked to greater overall daily intake, regardless of obesity.

They concluded that reduced breakfast energy intake was associated with lower total daily intake of calories.

Overweight and obese people should think about cutting back on breakfast calories, because breakfast calories had little impact on overall consumption.

Schusdziarra said that people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of what they had for breakfast.

British Dietetic Association spokeswoman Sian Porter said that people who eat breakfast tended to follow a more balanced diet than people who skip it.

She said they were less likely to be overweight in the first place, and more likely to be successful at losing weight, as well as being less prone to certain diseases.

Porter said that missing breakfast may lead people to snack on less healthy foods later on in the morning.


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