Recent research has offered support to the old adage “Eat breakfast like a king. Lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. ” A study published in Obesity randomly divided 50 overweight and obese woman into two groups. Each woman received a total of 1400 calories divided throughout the day. The first group, the Breakfast group received the majority of their calories in the morning (700 calories for breakfast, 500 for lunch and 200 for dinner). The second group, the Dinner group, received the majority of their calories for dinner (200 calories at breakfast, 500 for lunch and 700 for dinner). The only difference between the two groups was the timing of the bulk of their calories. The results were astounding. While both groups lost a significant amount of weight, the Breakfast group lost twice as much weight and showed a significantly greater reduction in their insulin levels and fasting glucose levels. The Breakfast group also had a 33.6% decrease in their triglyceride levels while the Dinner group’s triglyceride levels increased by almost 15%. The Breakfast group also reported feeling more satiated throughout the day than the Dinner group.
What can we learn from this study? Researchers for years have pointed to the importance of eating breakfast. It is well documented that people who eat breakfast have more energy throughout the day, are better able to stay focused and tend to eat less throughout the day. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes the body is most focused on digestion during the morning hours so consuming the majority of your nutrients during this period means your body will receive optimal nutrition. Of course, the quality of the breakfast is important. Sugary cereals, white bagels with cream cheese or waffles loaded with syrup are going to spike your blood sugar and then lead to a energy crash. Be sure to add some protein and maybe a healthy fat to the start of your day. This fat or protein will help anchor your carbs, slowing digestion and keeping you feeling full longer. Good choices for breakfast include:
- A whole wheat bagel with nut butter.
- A bowl of oatmeal, quinoa and other grains with nuts, ground flax seeds and berries.
- Eggs of any kind served with sprouted whole wheat toast and a fresh fruit.
- Chia seeds combined with almond milk, chopped nuts and fruit.
- If you are going to have a cereal, try to choose one with the fewest grams of sugar possible. Mix it with a full fat organic Greek plain yogurt or whole organic milk, chopped nuts and some fresh berries.
All of these options offer a complex carb combined with a healthy fat and a significant source of protein. These breakfasts will help you have a healthy start to your day and could be one of the first steps to helping you control your eating throughout the day. Controlled, mindful eating can be an important component of weight control.
Photo from flickr.