The Many Benefits of Breakfast
The right breakfast foods can help you concentrate, give you strength – even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Your mother was right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the
day. Not only does it give you energy to start a new day, but breakfast is
linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved
Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind
containing doughnuts) can help give you:
- A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and
- Improved concentration and performance in the classroom or the
- More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity
- Lower cholesterol levels
Eating breakfast is important for everyone, but is especially so for
children and adolescents. According to the American Dietetic Association,
children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the
playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand
Breakfast Benefit: Weight Control
Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters
tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers.
Why? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger
throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals.
While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not
an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers,
and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day.
Another theory behind the breakfast-weight control link implies that eating
breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes making wise food choices
and balancing calories with exercise. For example, consider the successful
losers followed by the National Weight Control Registry, all of whom have lost
at least 30 pounds and kept it off at least one year. Some 80% of the people in
the Registry regularly eat breakfast (and also follow a calorie-controlled,
It's worth noting that most studies linking breakfast to weight control loss
looked at a healthy breakfast containing protein and/or whole grains -- not
meals loaded with fat and calories.
Make Lean Protein Part of Your Breakfast
Adding a little lean protein to your breakfast may be just the boost you
need to help keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
"Protein blunts your hunger the most, and is the most satiating,"
Purdue University researcher Wayne Campbell, PhD, tells WebMD.
And a traditional breakfast of eggs may be one of the best ways to get your
morning protein. While eggs are not always associated with weight loss, they
contain some of the highest-quality protein.
In a study presented at the 2007 Experimental Biology meeting, researchers
at Pennington Biomedical Research Center compared weight loss in women who ate
either two eggs or a bagel for breakfast. The two breakfast meals were
identical in calories and volume.
"Compared to the bagel eaters, overweight women who ate two eggs for
breakfast five times a week for eight weeks as part of a low-fat,
reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced waist circumference by 83%,
reported higher energy levels, and had no significant difference in their …
blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels," reports researcher Nikhil V.