Breakfast bonus #4: It can help protect you from disease.
Healthy women who skipped breakfast for two weeks developed higher levels of "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol than women who ate a bowl of fiber-rich whole-grain cereal with milk, according to a recent study. Fiber binds with cholesterol and speeds its excretion—before it reaches your arteries, says Zuckerbrot. Because of this, high fiber intake has been linked to an almost 50 percent reduction in heart disease over 10 years, according to the Harvard Nurses' Health Study. Research also suggests that fiber helps shuttle excess estrogen out of the body—good news, since elevated levels can up breast cancer risk.
What to Eat
A healthy breakfast should contain at least 5 grams of fiber, one serving of calcium (equal to a cup of milk or yogurt), and some protein and fat. Also, limit added sugars to about 6 grams (1 teaspoon equals 4 grams). The following meal suggestions fit the bill.
If you're on the run:
Order a latte with skim milk and grab a Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber Bar (available at gnufoods.com).
If you have a few minutes:
Pour a bowl of cereal such as Kashi GoLean, Post Original Shredded Wheat 'n Bran, or Barbara's Bakery Original Puffins with skim milk. Toss in some thawed frozen berries.
If you're at your desk:
Bring a Polly-O cheese stick and eat with a serving of whole-grain crackers and a glass of tomato juice.
If you like to prepare the night before:
Put your favorite fruits and low-fat yogurt in a blender and stash in the fridge. In the morning, simply blend and pour into a to-go cup.
Not Hungry in the Morning?
Stop eating after 8 o'clock at night—within two to three weeks your body's appetite clock will reset and you'll wake up hungry, suggests Zuckerbrot.
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