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The Many Benefits of Breakfast

The right breakfast foods can help you concentrate, give you strength – even help you maintain a healthy weight.

Make Lean Protein Part of Your Breakfast continued...

Another study, reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, also substantiates eggs' ability to satisfy hunger.

"Both these studies show that when people eat eggs at breakfast, they felt more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day, compared to those who ate a primarily carbohydrate meal like a bagel," explains Dhurandhar. 

But what about the cholesterol in eggs? A large egg contains 75 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 212 mg cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), healthy people can eat an egg a day. 

"It should be noted in our study that none of the women had increases in blood lipids, confirming that healthy adults on a low-fat diet can enjoy eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease," says Dhundar.

Another study, reported in Obesity Research, found that women who added a little lean protein to their breakfast (in the form of a slice of Canadian bacon added to an egg sandwich made with an English muffin) felt less hunger during the next four hours than those who ate a breakfast without protein.

All the participants lost about 18 pounds over the course of the study, but the group eating more protein – about 30% of total calories – kept more lean muscle than the group who ate the same number of calories but less protein.

Experts note that lean muscle mass is more metabolically active, and thus helps with weight management.

Breakfast Cereal and Weight Control

Many studies have also shown that when breakfast cereal is consumed as part of an overall healthful lifestyle, it can play a role in maintaining a healthy body weight. 

A Harvard study of more than 17,000 men found that those who frequently ate breakfast cereal -- both refined grain and whole-grain types -- consistently weighed less than those who rarely or never ate breakfast cereal.

Another study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, evaluated the diets of adults and found that breakfasts of ready-to-eat cereal were associated with lower BMIs in women than other, higher-fat breakfast meals.

Choosing the Right Breakfast Foods

This just goes to show how important it is to choose the right foods for breakfast. A healthy breakfast meal should contain a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, and lean protein. 

Even if you think you don’t have time to eat breakfast, there are grab-and-go options that fill the bill. Some quick and healthy choices include:

  • A veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast
  • A whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and slice of tomato or lean ham
  • Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
  • Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
  • Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
  • Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
  • Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
  • Hard-boiled egg and a banana
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Reviewed on August 29, 2007

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