Food and Nutrition

Eating a Big Breakfast Will Make You Fat

| by Toni Brayer MD

Haven't we all learned that breakfast should be our biggest meal?  "Start the day off with "fuel" and you can burn it off as the day goes on." "Eat a big breakfast and you will eat fewer calories all day long". 

This advice is probably not true, and in fact a new study published in Nutrition Journal shows that people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of what they had at breakfast.  If a person ate 1000 calories at breakfast  (which is easy to do with bacon, eggs, toast, hashbrowns, juice), they had a total increase in calories eaten throughout the day by 1000 cals.

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This doesn't mean we should be skipping breakfast.  The problem may be what we historically think of as an American breakfast.  It might have worked for the farmer in the past or the laborer hauling lumber but it's just too many calories for our current level of activity.

But there is nothing wrong with a "European" breakfast of whole grain cereal and fruit.  Or yogurt and fruit.  Or one egg and toast.  Or cheese and bread (whole grain of course) like the French.

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What about a muffin from Starbucks and coffee?  The blueberry muffin carries 470 calories and almost 1/2 of those are fat.  The Starbucks coffee cake is a whopping 630 calories.  The tall latte adds another 204 calories. (90-126 calories for a nonfat latte).

If you are happy with your weight you can ignore this article because you have already learned the appropriate caloric intake for your level of activity.  But if you are one of the millions of readers who are trying to lose weight, this study shows that overweight subjects should pay attention to those breakfast calories and eat less as a way to reduce total calories for the day.