People are likely to eat more of dense breakfast cereals like granola and Grape-Nuts than less-dense cereals like flakes.
U.S. researchers offered 41 adults one of four cereals for breakfast once a week—either ordinary wheat flakes or the same flakes crushed so that their volume was only 80 percent, 60 percent, or 40 percent of the ordinary flakes. The participants were allowed to eat as much cereal (from an opaque container), fat-free milk, and calorie-free sweetener as they wanted.
The denser the cereal, the more the volunteers ate. Their breakfast calories rose from 286 for the ordinary flakes to 358 for the densest flakes. However, they all estimated having eaten the same amount of cereal.
What to do: Beware of dense cereals. Don’t just check a cereal’s calories per serving. Check the serving size, which can range from ¼ cup to 1¼ cups.
Source: J. Acad. Nutr. Diet. 2014. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.01.014.
Other relevant links:
- Serving sizes may not be as big as you think. See: Calories in Food: How Many Calories are in One Serving of Your Cereal?
- Is breakfast necessary to help shed pounds? See: Does Skipping Breakfast Make You Fatter?
- Stick to low-sugar breakfast cereals. See: Less Sugar, More Fruit