German researchers have suggested that eating a big breakfast may lead to gaining more weight.
The study, which refutes previous findings that eating a big breakfast reduces total calorie intake over the day, found that those who enjoy a hearty breakfast are likely to have a big lunch and dinner.
Volker Schusdziarra at the Else-Kroner-Fresenius Center of Nutritional Medicine, Germany, and his team conducted a study on over 300 people who were asked to note down what they usually ate.
Within the group, some always ate a big breakfast, others ate a small one and some skipped the meal altogether.
"The results of the study showed that `people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of what they had for breakfast," said Schusdziarra.
This meant that a big breakfast boosted overall calorie intake. A big breakfast (on average 400 kcal greater than a small breakfast) resulted in a total increase in calories eaten over the day of about 400 kcal.
The only difference was when people who ate a really large breakfast decided to skip a mid-morning snack. But this was not enough to offset the extra calories they had already eaten.
According to Schusdziarra, the previous study only looked at the ratio of breakfast calories to daily calories while his study found that this ratio seems to be most affected by people eating less during the day.
In other words, their breakfast was proportionally, but not absolutely, bigger.
The researchers claimed that a large breakfast must be counteracted by eating substantially less during the day.
In order to lose weight sensibly, the National Health Service guidelines suggest restricting calorie intake, cutting down on saturated fat and sugar, and eating 5-a-day fruit and vegetable.
The study is published in Nutrition journal.