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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Eating Breakfast Helps Weight Loss

If you are someone who thinks skipping breakfast will help you lose weight, think again! Studies show that breakfast - especially a cereal breakfast - is associated with better weight loss.

An ongoing study of people who have maintained weight loss of at least 30 pounds for more than a year shows that eating breakfast keeps people slimmer (National Weight Control Registry). Breakfast eaters tend to eat fewer calories, less saturated fat and cholesterol and have better overall nutritional status than breakfast skippers.

A Nielsen's National Eating Trends Survey showed that women who ate cereal on a regular basis weighed about nine pounds less than those who ate cereal rarely or not at all, while men who ate breakfast weighed about six pounds less than men who didn't eat breakfast.

What is the link?

When you skip breakfast, your metabolic rate slows down and your blood sugar drops. As a result, you become hungry and have less energy. This sets you up to impulsively snack in the morning - often on high-fat sweets - or to eat extra servings or bigger portions at lunch or dinner.

When you eat breakfast, your body feels nourished and satisfied, making you less likely to overeat the rest of the day.

Eating breakfast every day may reduce the risk for obesity and insulin resistance syndrome - an early sign of developing diabetes - by as much as 35 to 50 percent, according to a study presented at a recent American Heart Association conference.

Whole-grain cereals best choice for weight loss

Breakfast choices are endless, although whole-grain cereals top the list as the best choice for weight control and improving health.

A Harvard study found that participants who ate whole-grain cereal every day were 17 percent less likely to die over the next several years from any cause, and 20 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, than those who "rarely or never" ate whole-grain cereals.

Look for cereals that list whole grain or bran as their first ingredient and contain at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Bran cereal and oatmeal contain at least 7 grams per serving, or about 25 percent of the recommended daily intake.
"No time" is no excuse

Time is at a premium for most of us. Nevertheless, it pays to make time for what may be the most important meal of the day.

Try to choose foods from at least two or more food groups. Protein foods take longer to digest and will provide sustained energy and keep you feeling full longer.

  • Here are quick, tasty and nutritious choices to get your day off to a good start:
  • Milk and whole-grain cereal
  • Instant oatmeal topped with raisins and milk
  • Whole-grain granola topped with fruit and yogurt
  • Peanut butter spread on whole-wheat toast or a bagel
  • Fruit smoothie made with yogurt
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers
  • Do not overlook leftovers - a slice of pizza, leftover stir-fry or a bowl of soup zapped in the microwave can be tasty and tide you over to lunch

Energy bars have exploded in popularity. Although they are convenient and may satisfy your hunger in a pinch, read the label. Even though they contain a variety of vitamins and other added nutrients, they often contain little fiber, and are loaded with as many calories as a candy bar!

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