You already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a new study shows that it should also be the biggest meal of the day if you’re looking to lose weight.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California tracked 50,000 participants, age 30 and older, for seven years. Results published in the Journal of Nutrition show that not only was eating breakfast associated with a lower body mass index, but so was making it the biggest meal of the day.

Dr. Hana Kahleova, one of the study’s authors, told KCBS that, “People who are regularly eating breakfast have better chances of keeping their body weight compared to those who are skipping breakfast.”

The theory is that eating in the a.m. means you’ll be less likely to reach for snacks or heavy meals later in the day when you have less healthy options available and less time to burn those calories in your daily active hours.

While skipping meals is not recommended, the study saw positive benefits from participants who ate just one or two meals per day. Of course, people who ate more than three meals or snacked frequently, typically had higher BMIs.

The study contradicts the idea that eating frequent small meals or snacks is the path to weight loss.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.