For years, the conventional wisdom has been that eating more at breakfast will help you eat less at lunch and dinner.
And that makes breakfast the most important meal of the day, right?
Well, a new study flips the cereal bowl right over--because researchers have found that people who eat more at breakfast simply eat more, period.
And it doesn't take a scientist to figure out what happens next.
German researchers asked 100 normal-weight people and 280 obese people to record everything they ate for 10 to 14 days.
They found that those who ate the biggest breakfasts tended to skip a morning snack... but other than that, they ate the same amounts of food throughout the rest of the day as those who had the smallest breakfasts.
Even people who had no breakfast at all ate the same for lunch and dinner as those who had the biggest morning meals.
And that means extra calories at breakfast are just that: extra calories. The researchers wrote in Nutrition Journal that people who ate big breakfasts consumed 400 more calories a day than everyone else.
That might be surprising after years of breakfast-food commercials emphasizing the importance of that first meal of the day, but it's not surprising if you look at what most people eat in the a.m.--because it's not exactly the foods your body wants or needs.
Most people eat some combination of bagels, English muffins, sugar-packed cereals, toast, pancakes, waffles, pastries and breakfast sandwiches.
And then, they wash it back with orange juice--or, worse yet, a sugar-loaded "specialty" coffee.
All those carbs aren't just bad for you... they also cause spikes in blood sugar and lead to wild fluctuations in your appetite, making you hungrier sooner and craving even more carbs.
One study on rodents found that the ones given fats in the morning had normal metabolisms and were better able to handle the variety of foods that came along during the course of the day.
The ones fed carbs in the morning, on the other hand, had wacky metabolisms that locked in on carbs for the rest of the day--and were more likely to show risk factors for metabolic syndrome such as glucose intolerance and weight gain. (Click here to read more.)
Bottom line here: Enjoy a big breakfast if you want one. Just stick to an omelet packed with the real, fresh foods your body needs.
And if you simply must have some carbs, enjoy heart-friendly oatmeal--the real kind, not the instant junk loaded with sugar--and a bowl of antioxidant-rich berries.