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Skip the Big Breakfasts: Weight Loss May Start With Smaller Morning Portions

Update Date: May 13, 2013 12:58 PM EDT
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Just like a big breakfast doesn't always mean a light lunch and dinner, a small breakfast doesn't mean you'll be pigging out for the rest of the day, according to new research.

A new study has revealed that people who had small breakfasts did not compensate by eating more later in the day, leading researchers to suggest that a smaller meal to start the day may help dieters cut back on calories.

According to the Daily Mail, researchers from the Medical Research Council's nutrition center in Cambridge, UK gave 33 overweight men and women breakfast three times.  The first breakfast contained a normal serving of around 700 calories, the second contained the same foods but was 20 percent smaller and the third was even smaller and contained 50 percent less food than the first breakfast.

The breakfasts in the study included foods like cereal, milk, scrambled egg, ham, brown toast with butter and orange juice.

Researchers said that later in the morning the participants in the study were offered cookies and then watched as they helped themselves to lunch.  Participants also reported what they ate for the rest of the day.

The study found that people didn't eat more after a small breakfast.  Instead, people ate the same amount post-breakfast each time, even when they started the day off with a smaller meal.

Researchers found that having a smaller breakfast reduced participants' calorie intake by around 270 calories a day.

The latest findings suggest that the secret to weight loss lies in making small changes that won't make us really hungry.  Researchers explained that people tend to stick to their habits and eat their usual amounts later in the day if they don't experience hunger pangs.

"It suggests that small reductions in portion sizes can be a helpful strategy to control weight," said researcher Susan Jebb, according to the Daily Mail. "Don't underestimate the impact of small differences, particularly when they are repeated day in, day out."

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