Dr. Aaron Tabor, MD is the author of Dr. Tabor's Slim & Beautiful Diet and FIGHT NOW: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer. After graduating from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Tabor devoted his career to helping people live a life they love through medical research.

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Diet with Dr. Tabor

by Aaron Tabor, MD Diet & Anti-Aging Expert

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In regards to obesity prevention and weight loss, breakfast is probably the most studied meal of the day. Some research studies suggest that eating a large breakfast can aid in weight loss and that skipping breakfast can increase our risk for becoming overweight or obese. In contrast, some studies have suggested that a high-calorie breakfast does not lead to smaller meals later in the day and therefore can lead to excess caloric intake. The inconsistency in these study results appears to be due, at least in part, to differences in how the information is analyzed and how the studies are run.

A new dietary research study has attempted to resolve this confusion by conducting a study on daily food consumption using the two main methods of analysis[1]. The study investigators asked 280 obese individuals and 100 normal weight individuals to complete a very detailed food diary of their normal eating habits over 10 straight days. The amount of food in calories was determined for breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack, and evening snack. The relationships between breakfast consumption and total daily food consumption were analyzed based on (1) each day's absolute breakfast calories and (2) breakfast calories as a percent of each day's total food consumption. The study researchers reported:

  • In obese and normal weight study volunteers, an increasingly large breakfast resulted in an increasing amount of total calories consumed throughout the day.
  • There appeared to be little or no compensation for consuming a large breakfast. No matter how large the breakfast was, study volunteers consistently consumed around 550 calories at lunch and dinner.
  • Snacking was not affected by breakfast size with the exception of the morning snack, which was reduced only on the two days of largest breakfast consumption by obese volunteers.
  • When the data was examined based on breakfast calories as a ratio of total daily calories, a high ratio of breakfast-to-total calories was linked to a reduction in total daily food consumption only on those days when lunch and dinner sizes were reduced.

The study investigators went on to state that the absolute breakfast calories appears to be more strongly linked to total daily food consumption than the ratio of breakfast-to-total calories. This is apparently due to the fact that the ratio of breakfast-to-total calories can be influenced by breakfast size, other meals sizes or a combination.

In essence this study suggests that in situations where individuals follow their regular eating habits, consuming a large breakfast results in excess food consumption throughout the day. This could lead to an increased risk for becoming overweight or obese. This is important information of which we should all be aware. Consuming a healthy breakfast is an important part of a healthy diet and helps prepare us for a full and busy day; however, if we choose to eat an overly large breakfast we might want to consider eating a little less at lunch and dinner in order to stay at an appropriate daily calorie intake. So, be sure to eat a good breakfast, but don't go overboard!

Healthy Regards,

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Aaron Tabor, MD
Diet, Anti-Aging, and Nutritional Cosmetic Expert
Author of Dr. Tabor’s Diet and FIGHT NOW.

Learn more about Dr. Tabor’s diet and anti-aging research at www.DrTabor.com.
Visit Dr. Tabor on QVC.


  1. Schusdziarra V, et al. Impact of breakfast on daily energy intake " an analysis of absolute versus relative breakfast calories. Nutrition Journal 2011; 10:5; doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-5.

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