Believe In Breakfast

And weight loss will be your reward.

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on January 30, 2004
3 min read

You've heard that old saying, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper? This age-old advice is based on scientific evidence that recommends consuming the bulk of your calories during the day when you are the most active. Unfortunately, most of us eat our largest meal at dinner, when we are the least active, chow down on a sizeable lunch, and skip breakfast -- to save calories.

After a good night's rest, your blood sugar or glucose level is low. Skipping breakfast allows the body to stay in the hibernation-like state, which burns only minimal calories.

Believe it or not, you can actually lose weight by eating breakfast because the food in your stomach boosts your metabolism.

It's true, your body needs to get its metabolism revved up, and the only way to do it is with a nutritious meal. Kick start that engine with a healthy breakfast and you will help keep blood sugar and hormone levels stable while your metabolism hums along at a higher level, burning more calories.

I'm not a breakfast eater, and neither are 95% of overweight individuals. But science suggests that we would benefit if we adopted the habits of people who eat breakfast and have proved to be more effective in managing their weight.

  • The National Weight Control Registry, a center that tracks individuals who have lost 30 pounds and kept it off for a year, found most successful losers start the day with breakfast.
  • A recent study at Vanderbilt University found that women who ate breakfast were better able to stick to their diets and lost more weight that those who skipped breakfast and cheated on their diets.

The advantage of a healthy breakfast is that it can stabilize the hormones and blood sugar levels to prevent potential bingeing and overeating during the day. It might give you the power to pass on those doughnuts in the break room.

Not eating breakfast is just a bad habit that needs breaking! Start simple, try a small meal or meal replacement, then gradually experiment with a variety of foods that appeal to you. It is important that the meal contain complex carbohydrates, protein, and a little fat so that it keeps you satisfied until lunch.

  • Bowl of whole grain bran cereal, skim milk, and sliced banana
  • One egg, whole wheat toast, and glass or orange juice
  • Two pancakes, blueberries, and café au lait
  • 1/2 bagel with peanut or almond butter and glass grapefruit juice
  • Small bran muffin with raisins and glass of skim milk
  • Low-fat yogurt and a small bowl of low-fat granola

Checking your weight less often can mean that you might wake up one morning and discover that you gained 10 pounds. That can be pretty discouraging, and it might cause you to just give up.

Breakfast does not need to take a lot of time. You can save time by setting out everything you need the night before. All you need is an extra 10 minutes, and if that is all it takes to help you be slimmer and healthier, isn't it worth it?

Be creative -- breakfast can be last night's leftovers or a fruit smoothie. Just do it!