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The benefits of having breakfast were praised for centuries. Modern science does confirm that good morning meal is important for the health of adults and better development of children.

Many people tend to skip the breakfast. The reasons vary from dieting to the lack of appetite. Some people are too busy and do not have time to or need a longer traveling time to reach their work place in time. Even worse, many substitute breakfast with a cup of coffee and a cigarette.

Most of those who skip breakfast are unaware of the fact that having a regular morning meal actually keeps them fit, healthy and slim.

The general idea is that by skipping a meal, one can cut down on calories. Mathematically, it is correct, but in reality something different happens. By afternoon people who didn’t have breakfast are starving and tend to overeat during lunch and dinner. That is why it is recommended to have regular breakfast.

What are the advantages of a good breakfast?

It helps in weight loss. In many scientific studies, it has been found that the majority of obese people who successfully lost weight consumed breakfast daily.

Skipping breakfast prolongs the duration of starvation after the last night meal. This results in an increased fat storage from whatever is consumed. This response of body occurs due to action of anabolic hormone insulin.

Eating breakfast replenishes you with energy at the beginning of a day. Muscles need glycogen stores which are reduced after the overnight fasting. Breakfast restores this source of muscle energy and improves physical performance. 

Skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity.

Regular breakfast eaters also exercise regularly. They tend to eat fewer calories during the day.

Health effects of breakfast

Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, and therefore the wise choice of food for this meal should be made. This should include fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals. These are high fiber and low calorie foods that provide adequate sensation of filling of stomach. They have smaller energy density, and one can eat more of this food without increasing the weight gain risk.

Regular breakfasts help for weight reduction in obesity

The importance of breakfast was highlighted by a study published in the Obesity journal this year. Researchers in Israel compared the weight loss in two groups of overweight and obese women fed on a weight loss diet of 1400 kcal daily for 12 weeks. One group had more calories at breakfast while the other group received higher calories at dinner. The breakfast (BF) group received 700 kcal for breakfast, 500 kcal for lunch and 200 kcal for dinner. The dinner (D) group received 200 kcal for breakfast, 500 kcal for lunch and 700 kcal for dinner.

They found that the BF group showed greater weight loss and waist circumference reduction. They detected that glucose and insulin decreased significantly and to a greater extent in the BF group. The fat levels in blood decreased in the BF group, but increased in the D group. These effects may lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease in the BF group. Since the hunger hormone ghrelin was lower during the day in the breakfast group, these women experienced higher levels of satiety. They concluded that a proper breakfast with light dinner is beneficial and might be a suitable alternative for obese people in reducing weight. It may be explained on the basis that our metabolism is affected by the body’s natural circadian rhythm during a 24 hour period. Therefore, the time of day when we eat can have a big impact on the way our bodies process consumed energy.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Jakubowicz D, Barnea M, Wainstein J, Froy O. (20 March 2013) High Caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women. Obesity (Silver Spring), doi: 10.1002/oby.20460
  • Leah EC, Stephanie EC, Rania AM, Majken KJ, Alan JF, Frank BH, Eric BR (2013) Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation 128: 337-343
  • Baldinger N, Krebs A, Müller R, Aeberli I. (2012) Swiss children consuming breakfast regularly have better motor functional skills and are less overweight than breakfast skippers. J Am Coll Nutr. 31(2): 87-93
  • Rampersaud GC, Pereira MA, Girard BL, Adams J, Metzl JD (2005) Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc. 105(5): 743-60.
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