Healthy living

Big breakfasts don't help cut calories

Big breakfasts don t help cut calories Another myth debunked

The idea that eating a big breakfast in the morning helps cut back on the number of calories consumed during the rest of the day is nothing more than a myth, according to new research.

German researchers followed the eating patterns of 300 adults for two weeks. Everyone taking part in the study were asked to keep a record of what they ate. Within the group, some people ate a big breakfast, some a small one, and some skipped it altogether.

Those who ate a big breakfast consumed the same amount of calories at lunch and dinner as those who ate a small breakfast or missed it out altogether.

This means that a big breakfast (on average 400kcal bigger than a small breakfast) resulted in an overall increase in calories eaten over the day of about 400kcal.

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.

Dr Volker Schusdziarra at the University of Munich, who led the study, said: “The results of the study showed that people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of what they had for breakfast.”

The researchers also added that when trying to lose weight, eating a large breakfast must be counteracted by eating substantially less during the rest of the day. NHS guidelines suggest restricting calorie intake, cutting down on saturated fat and sugar, and eating 5-a-day fruit and vegetables.

Sian Porter, at the British Dietetic Association, said: "It has been shown that people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip this meal, are less likely to be overweight, lose weight more successfully and have reduced risk of certain diseases.

"Missing breakfast may lead you to snack on less healthy foods later on in the morning and you won't necessarily catch up nutritionally later in the day if you skip breakfast."

The findings are published in the journal Nutrition.

This article was published on Mon 17 January 2011

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