Ever have days where you’re a bottomless pit—you feel like you’re always hungry?
Behaviors and external factors play into it. When you’re crazed at work, exercising for a long period of time, or traveling, your mind is preoccupied and, thus, you eat less. But there’s something else that plays into how much you eat in a day, and it all starts with breakfast.
If you think you’re eating a substantial morning meal, it’ll spur you to eat fewer calories for the remainder of the day. Likewise, if you eat a breakfast you determine to be small, you’re going to compensate and eat more thereafter, according to research from the British Psychological Society.
In the study, researchers fed 26 people. They told the subjects they were getting a breakfast omelet made with either two or four eggs. In reality, all omelets were made with three eggs. Researchers also took blood samples to analyze changing levels of hunger/satiety hormones leptin and ghrelin.
Those who believed they ate a four-egg omelet didn’t experience hunger pangs until four hours later, while those who thought they ate a smaller meal reported feeling hungry just two hours later. What’s more, these folks ended up eating more at lunch, and wolfed down considerably more calories throughout the day.
“Having analyzed levels of ghrelin, a known hunger hormone, our data also suggest that changes in reported hunger and the differences in later consumption are not due to differences in participants’ physical response to the food,” study author Steven Brown, Ph.D., said in a press release. “Therefore, memory for prior consumption, as opposed to physiological factors, may be a better target for investigating why expectations for a meal have an effect on subsequent feelings of hunger and calorie intake.”