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How To Lose Weight By Eating Breakfast

MattDenosHow To Lose Weight By Eating Breakfast

By Matthew Denos, Ph.D.

You may have been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you’re like most people you probably don’t give your morning meal much attention. If you’re trying to lose weight, skipping breakfast might even seem like an easy way to cut a few calories. In reality, it turns out that only about 4% of people who have been successful in losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off report skipping breakfast. That’s right—you’re more likely to lose weight if you start your day off eating.

Why Does Skipping Breakfast Make You Fat?

  1. Breakfast-eaters eat less overall. Studies have found that people who eat breakfast actually take in fewer calories over the course of the day. If you eat breakfast, you’ll be less likely to feel extremely hungry by lunchtime. This is important because people tend to be less satisfied by food eaten in the afternoon and evenings, meaning that it will take more food to satisfy your hunger later in the day. One study found that eating more of a particular macronutrient in the morning—carbohydrates, fat, or protein—led to eating less of that macronutrient over the course of the day. In the study participants, eating more carbs or fat in the morning resulted in eating 108 fewer calories overall—amounting to an 11 pound fat loss over one year just by eating breakfast!
  2. Skipping breakfast leads to high-calorie cravings. An interesting new study has found that skipping breakfast actually leads to changes in brain activity that make you crave higher calorie foods. Participants in the study had their brain activity monitored while they looked at pictures of high- and low-calorie foods. When participants skipped breakfast, the brain’s reward center was more active in response to pictures of high-calorie foods; when they had eaten breakfast, there was no significant difference in the brain’s response to high- and low-calorie foods.
  3. Fasting increases your insulin response. Skipping breakfast can mean going 16 hours without food, which your body interprets as fasting. Prolonged fasting can prompt your body to increase insulin levels, which increases fat storage and your likelihood of gaining weight.
  4. No breakfast equals less energy. Your body gets its energy from glucose (blood sugar), and your glucose levels drop significantly overnight. In response, your body releases glycogen (stored glucose). When you skip breakfast, your body doesn’t have the fuel necessary to replenish your glycogen stores, and your energy suffers. You’ll have enough energy to make it to your next meal but not much available for extra activities—making it unsurprising that people who skip breakfast tend to be less physically active.

The Ideal Breakfast For Weight Loss

Now that you know eating breakfast can help you lose weight, you may be wondering if there are particular foods you should eat to maximize breakfast’s benefits. While common-sense choices are always a good idea—choosing oatmeal instead of a doughnut, for instance—some healthy meals do appear to be more effective than others when it comes to weight loss. In particular, studies have found that eating a healthy breakfast rich in carbohydrates appears to be most effective for long-term weight loss.

The popularity of low-carb diets in recent years has given carbohydrates a bad name, but in actuality carbs can play an important role in weight loss. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfasts rich in carbohydrates tend to have a lower BMI than those who skip breakfast or eat a high-protein breakfast. Another study suggests that a breakfast rich in both carbohydrates and protein may be ideal. In that study, obese women were assigned to either a low-carb breakfast of 290 calories or a 610-calorie breakfast rich in both carbs and protein. Big-breakfast eaters lost 21% of their body weight over the course of the study, compared to only 4.5% in the low-carb group. They also reported feeling less hungry and having fewer carbohydrate cravings. So instead of cutting carbohydrates out of your diet, consider eating them as part of your morning meal.

Not thrilled with the idea of fixing yourself breakfast every morning? The good news for you is that your breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate to be effective. In fact, several studies have found that regular eaters of cold cereal have fewer weight problems than those who eat cereal infrequently, and children who eat breakfasts cereals that are high in carbohydrates tend to have lower body weights. Choose a cereal that is low in added sugar and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

With scientific evidence so clearly in favor of eating a morning meal, there are few excuses left for skipping breakfast. Don’t be fooled into thinking that skipping the most important meal of the day is going to help you lose weight—as you can see, the opposite is true. Just making time for a bowl of cold cereal in the morning is a relatively simple lifestyle change that may have a significant impact on your weight and overall feeling of well-being.

A science freelance writer, Matthew Denos, enjoys presenting in an easy to understand fashion newsworthy research findings related to diet and weight loss. His passion for reading and learning more about obesity treatments and best rated diets for weight loss mirrors the content of his website; There you can find a discount code for BistroMD and a coupon code for Diet-To-Go.

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Posted by Susan Brown on April 1st, 2010 in Diet and Fitness | 1 comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

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One Comment

  • I agree that breakfast is especially important, and I would never skip the first meal of the day.

    I do have a situation in which I work retail part time. It is usually about 4 to 5 hours straight without a break. This means with drive time I can go as long as 6 or 6 1/2 hours without a meal. Maybe a few crackers or a protein bar is all I can squeeze in. By the time I get home though, I am starving and I stuff myself. Any suggestions that would help me at least for the time being, that is until I quit?


    — Added by glimmer on April 3rd, 2010

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