It is commonly known that eating breakfast is important because it helps boost your metabolism. This early meal also helps you lose or maintain your weight by preventing cravings. There are many other benefits to eating breakfast, including enhanced memory, improved cholesterol levels, improved mood throughout the day, improved cognitive ability, and increased attention span. New research challenges the idea of breakfast. Before we explore these theories, let us look at the facts.
One research experiment regarding breakfast intake and weight maintenance was conducted by Monash University Gastroenterologist, Alex Hodge. Dr. Hodge looked at a group of 32 participants who had fatty liver disease. He directed them to fast between 8pm and midday. The research concluded that skipping breakfast could actually help to shed weight. The participants lost weight over the experiment’s 12-week period, reducing their waist circumference. There was also not a significant change in food intake throughout the day despite skipping out on the early morning meal.
Another 16-week research published in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, examined the effect of skipping breakfast for weight-loss in 309 unhealthy overweight and obese people aged between 20-65 years old. This conflicting research study found that skipping breakfast did not affect the study participants’ weight loss.
However, some researchers say that the conclusions from research studies should be interpreted with caution. You can already notice the stark discrepancy between the two mentioned experiments.
There are limitations in the research studies looking at breakfast effect, including the size of participants. There are also other control factors not accounted for, such as frequency and quality of other meals throughout the day. Nutrition research studies are often very challenging because of the difficulty controlling the participants other lifestyle habits (such as smoking and level of physical activity). They are often not 100% controlled intake studies.
Even though research shows that skipping breakfast does not affect weight, it is advised to not skip long term. Nutrients provided by eating breakfast are important for tackling the day. The experts advise us that breakfast should not be about weight maintenance, it should be about encouraging people to eat healthy. The hope is to form a habit for kick-starting our day with essential nutrients.
A healthy breakfast should include the following:
Whole grains. Examples include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, and Melba toast.
Lean protein. Examples include peanut butter, lean meat, poultry, fish, and hard-boiled eggs.
Low-fat dairy. Examples include milk, plain or lower sugar yogurts, and low-fat cheeses – such as cottage and natural cheeses.
Fruits and vegetables. Examples include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100% real fruit juice without added sugar, as well as fruit and vegetable blended Smoothies. Make sure you choose low-sodium versions of beverages, though.
By following these guidelines, no matter how busy you are, you will soon see the effects of a quick healthy breakfast. This value should not be underestimated.
Here are some tips for fitting in breakfast on a tight schedule:
Cook ahead. Make breakfast the day or night before.
Prepare. You can also prepare any dry ingredients and any bowls or pans for use in the morning.
To-go. Make an easy to transport breakfast the night before. In the morning, you can just grab it and go.
Sometimes you have the drive to eat right, but you just need some inspiration for what to eat. An apple is an apple, but about something more exciting?
Here are some examples of quick and healthy breakfast recipes:
Berry-nana Soy Smoothie
1 cup vanilla soymilk
1 cup frozen blueberries, or frozen berry mix
1 banana, sliced
1 tablespoon soy protein powder
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
Prep time: 3 minutes
Puree all the ingredients in a blender on high, until smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy.
A bowl of fiber-rich bran flakes (about 1½ cups)
8 ounces of low-fat milk
¼ cup of nuts, or fresh/dried fruit , such as chopped pecans or blueberries.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Mix all the ingredients. Serve immediately and enjoy.