Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day because it sets the course for your day’s eating habits, new research says.
Common weight-loss wisdom holds that a good breakfast is the cornerstone of a healthy diet. And while most experts recommend the same variety of foods — complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein are all seen as breakfast essentials — many still don’t understand how much we should eat at breakfast for optimal weight control.
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich set out to determine how a large breakfast impacts your diet for the rest of the day. Their conclusion, published in the Nutrition Journal, is that a large breakfast almost always means a higher total daily calorie intake in both obese and normal-weight participants, which is slightly contrary to general wisdom. A landmark study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2008 found that eating more calories at breakfast and fewer later in the day helped reduce weight gain in adults. According to the National Weight Control Registry, eating breakfast is one of the behaviors most solidly associated with long-term weight management in formerly overweight adults. This time around, researchers recommended that dieters indeed should eat breakfast, but that they should limit themselves to smaller breakfasts to help reduce total calorie intake during the day.
Don’t want to give up your big morning meal? The key to having your big breakfast and eating it, too, may lie in the choices you make after that first repast. In this latest study, researchers wrote that a significant reduction in calories was possible after a large breakfast if post-breakfast energy intake was significantly reduced. This means that if you’re going to have bacon, eggs, and all the fixings in the morning, stick to light, low-calorie meals for the rest of the day. If you’re trying to cut calories for weight loss, it’s perhaps best to stick to breakfast foods that are both filling and low in calories, such as fresh berries, eggs, and Greek yogurt.