Memorial Hospital - October 05, 2020

Popular wisdom says starting the day with breakfast is key to successful weight loss. However, one clinical study of overweight adults trying to lose weight found no difference in the amount of weight lost between breakfast eaters and those who skipped the morning meal. Serial breakfast skippers welcomed these results, even though the researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham pointed out a longer trial could produce different outcomes.

While breakfast may not impact weight loss, there are still plenty of good reasons to make breakfast part of your routine.

Starting your day with a high–protein breakfast can help regulate blood sugar and control hunger, which may help you maintain a healthy weight. Just be sure your breakfast plate is filled with nutritious foods instead of sugary, fat–laden items.

Should you join the breakfast club or not?

Ultimately, whether you eat breakfast or not is a highly personal decision based on your lifestyle and how you feel when you wake up. If your routine works for you, there may be no reason to make a change. However, the latest research may make you think twice about how you start your morning.

Here's a snapshot of breakfast research.

  1. Having breakfast probably won't boost your metabolism. A three–year, randomized controlled trial at the University of Bath in England found that eating breakfast did not affect participants' resting metabolic rate. This 2014 study, called the Bath Breakfast Project, contradicts less rigorous studies that showed a metabolic boost.
  2. People who eat breakfast tend to move more. The Bath Breakfast Project measured participants' daily activity with portable monitors and found that those who ate breakfast expended more energy throughout the day.
  3. Breakfast eaters have better blood sugar control, according to the Bath Breakfast Project. Keeping blood sugar steady can help limit hunger or overeating later in the day.
  4. Not eating breakfast can reduce overall calorie intake. In a small study at Cornell University, researchers found college students who skipped breakfast consumed about 400 fewer calories throughout the day. However, the study did not look at how this affected weight or other factors.
  5. Eating breakfast is linked to weight maintenance. The National Weight Control Registry found that about 8 of 10 people who lost 30 or more pounds—and kept them off—eat breakfast regularly. This doesn't prove that having a morning meal improves weight control, but there does appear to be a link between the two.
  6. Exercising before breakfast may increase calories burned. Participants in a small study who exercised before breakfast burned up to 20% more body fat than those who ate first, according to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
  7. Skipping breakfast may impair thinking and test performance. Children who have a poor nutritional status seem to be at greatest risk for performance problems, according to Nutrition Research Reviews. More research is needed to confirm this cause and effect for different age groups and different tasks.

There's no magic breakfast routine that works for everyone. If you've never been a breakfast eater, you may want to try it out for a week or so to see how it affects your mood and energy level.

If you typically eat breakfast, consider how you can make it healthier by including whole grains, fruit and protein. Avoid the temptation to grab one of those bacon, egg and cheese biscuits from the drive–through, and choose a well–balanced selection of foods throughout the day.

Source: H2U Newsletter