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Growing up, a lot of us heard that we should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” – meaning we should start off with higher calorie meals and taper down throughout the day, finishing with a light calorie dinner.
The thinking behind this saying was that eating our calories early would allow our bodies to work them off and that sleeping on a full stomach could cause weight gain. But a new study has emerged that said a full breakfast does not indicate healthier eating habits. In fact, those who eat a large breakfast in the morning went on to eat as many calories during the rest of the day as those who ate a small breakfast or none at all.
The German study, published in Nutrition Journal, followed the eating habits of 280 obese people and 100 people of normal weight. They all kept a journal of everything they ate for breakfast (the typical foods like cereals, yogurts, sausage and eggs were eaten) and the rest of their meals throughout the day. Researchers then counted the days' total calories. Results showed that eating a very small breakfast or skipping it altogether did not cause people to make up for it later by eating larger lunches or dinners. In fact, breakfast seemed to have little impact on the rest of the day’s food consumption. The only thing a large breakfast did was add many calories to the day's total.
One of the senior researchers of this study, Dr. Volker Schusdziarra, a professor of internal medicine at the Technical University of Munich, said when people talk to him about nutrition, they often mention they skip breakfast. His advice? “Keep doing what you’re doing…eating breakfast is just added calories. You’ll never compensate for them at subsequent meals.”
Do you notice a difference in your eating habits if you skip breakfast? What do you make of this study? Would the results encourage you to eat little or no breakfast?