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Big Breakfast, Big Calories: Rethink Your Morning “Fuel Up”

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

This advice is probably not true, and in fact a new study published in the January 17th issue Nutrition Journal shows that people ate the same at lunch and dinner regardless of what they had at breakfast. If a person ate 1,000 calories at breakfast (which is easy to do with bacon, eggs, toast, hashbrowns, and juice), he or she had a total increase in calories eaten throughout the day by 1,000 calories.

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’s 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 do it.

What about coffee and a muffin from Starbucks?  The blueberry muffin carries 470 calories, with almost half of them coming from fat. The Starbucks coffeecake is a whopping 630 calories. A tall latte adds another 204 calories (or 90 to 126 calories for a non-fat latte).

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

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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2 Responses to “Big Breakfast, Big Calories: Rethink Your Morning “Fuel Up””

  1. Mike says:

    I actually eat less throughout the day if I skip breakfast. I don’t know why, but eating a big meal at breakfast seems to make me more hungry at lunch and dinner. Thanks.

  2. Here are a few low-calorie options for your morning coffee drink!

    Drip coffee. A cup of black coffee has very few calories and can help give you a boost for your morning workout. If you can’t drink it black, try adding low-fat or skim milk and a zero-calorie sweetener.

    Hold the whip. Whipped cream can add quite a few calories to your favorite coffee drink. Ask the barista to skip the whip and save yourself some calories.

    Choose low-fat milk. Many coffee and espresso drinks include milk. Ask your barista to replace whole or 2% milk with a low-fat option like 1% or skim.

    Try a tea. Like coffee, many teas have very few calories on their own. It is typically the sugar or other flavor additives that rack up the calories. Try an iced green tea or a chai tea latte with low-fat milk.

    Watch your portion size. This one might be obvious, but the bigger the cup, the more calories.

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