Study after study has linked eating breakfast to higher overall nutrient intake, fewer bouts of emotional eating and cravings later in the day, and sustained weight loss for longer periods of time – and yet, 40 percent of people neglect the first meal of the day.
You can have a simple bowl of cereal but imagine waking up to a 600-calorie hungry man’s feast that could actually be better for you!
That’s just what 94 obese, inactive women did for a recent study dubbed the Big Breakfast study. Venezuelan researchers put half the women on a very low carb Atkins-style diet (17 grams/day) and compared their weight loss to women of similar girth who tried the new Big Breakfast diet with balanced carb and protein distribution.
On the very low carb diet, the women had a small 290-calorie breakfast containing no more than seven grams of carbs from bread, fruit, cereal and milk. Their typical breakfast would be a cup of milk, one egg, three slices of bacon, and two teaspoons of butter.
Big Breakfast dieters averaged 610 calories for breakfast and usually had a cup of milk, a turkey sandwich with cheese and mayonnaise, one ounce of chocolate candy (yes, chocolate for breakfast!), and a protein shake.
This hefty meal could be eaten in stages so long as it was done by 9 a.m. Lunch and dinner were progressively lighter at 395 and 235 calories, respectively.
This inversed pyramid of energy intake with most of the calories at the start of the day seems to be the secret to sustained energy and weight loss. In a few months, both groups dropped similar amounts of weight, but the low carb group gained most of it back.
In contrast, the women who enjoyed their lean protein, carbs and candy for breakfast continued to lose weight to the tune of nearly 17 more pounds!
Hunger, which exacerbates stress, and mid-day cravings for carbs, which are a sign of emotional stress, were not a problem because of breakfast.
Eating a big breakfast also meant more nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals because more fruit and wholegrain carbs were allowed.
So, you don’t need any more reasons to eat breakfast, but mornings are crazy busy and rushed. Try these quick tips for a grab-and-go big breakfast:
Pack up leftover dinner the night before. There’s nothing wrong with meatloaf in the morning.
Make a blender full of protein shake. You’re good to go for the week with protein power in your coffee cup every morning.
Stock up on pre-sliced meat, cheese and wholegrain bread. Always have these on hand for quick sandwich assembly.