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Study Shows Portion Size Matters, and a Big Breakfast Means You Need to Cut Calories the Rest of the Day

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.

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.

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