If you eat breakfast cereal and are watching your weight, beware of overeating varieties with smaller, more densely packed flakes or pieces. In a recent study from Penn State, people helped themselves to standard wheat flakes or the same flakes crushed to reduce the volume by 20, 40, or 60 percent.
As flake size was reduced, people poured a smaller volume of cereal, but they still took (and ate) more, based on weight, than when they ate the standard flakes. In fact, they consumed about one-third more calories when they ate the densest flakes.
The solution: Measure your cereal so you know what you’re getting. Don’t be confused by the serving sizes listed on labels—the FDA allows these to vary, depending on cereal density. For instance, a serving of flakes is only about one ounce, fills one cup, and has about 120 calories. But with denser cereals (such as Grape-Nuts), a serving weighs two ounces, fills just half a cup, and can have 210 calories.