The secret to losing weight involves a careful balance. The number of calories that go into a person should be exceeded by the energy expended by exercise and the normal biological functions of the body. This often involves controlling caloric intake, which can be simple when people cut back on portion sizes.
Some people believe they can lose weight by limiting what they eat and even skipping certain meals altogether. But skipping a meal like breakfast could actually have an adverse effect on weight-loss efforts.
People who lose weight and keep it off are generally those who eat a large, healthy breakfast. In a 2017 study about meal frequency and changes in body mass index published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that those who made breakfast the largest meal of the day were more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who ate a large lunch or dinner. A portion-controlled breakfast full of lean protein and whole grains can help people to feel fuller longer. Breakfast can curb hunger pangs before lunch, reducing the likelihood that people will reach for unhealthy vending machine fare to tide them over until their midday meals.
The nutrition experts at Runtastic, a resource for avid runners, find that eating breakfast stimulates the body’s natural thermogenic process, which is the use of energy to store food in the stomach, transport it through the digestive system and burn energy. Furthermore, studies have shown that eating a meal in the morning boosts metabolism more than eating the same meal in the evening. That’s because, in the morning, the meal is jump-starting the body’s metabolic process for the day.
Eating breakfast also can have a positive impact on blood sugar concentration and may reduce postprandial hyperglycemia (higher blood sugar levels after eating) in people who have diabetes.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends people divide their total daily food intake into four or five meals, including breakfast, over the course of the day. This provides constant fuel and will help one to avoid hunger pangs and blood sugar drops that may lead to impulse eating.
When choosing breakfast foods, certain options are smarter than others. Look for lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. High-fiber foods, like oatmeal, can quell hunger pangs quickly and stabilize blood sugar after a meal. Protein also is filling. A 2005 study of overweight women published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that eating eggs for breakfast instead of a bagel significantly increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake later in the day. Increasing fiber intake from fruits also can create feelings of fullness and promote weight loss.
Breakfast is an important meal that shouldn’t be skipped, even by people aiming to lose weight.