Eat breakfast to lose weight - it really works!
Whether you spend time slaving over the stove to make a three-egg omelette or you're more of a speedy-smoothie-breakfaster, experts agree that eating breakfast every day can help you to lose weight - and keep it off. We're all so busy nowadays that many of us skip breakfast in order to have more time in the mornings. Turns out, that could be bad news for your health, and your waistline.
Skip breakfast, cut calories
This is an easy trap to fall into. "I'm cutting back on calories by skipping breakfast," we can hear you saying. But foregoing breakfast after your workout or before you hit the office isn't actually a good thing. Problem is, you'll be starving by mid-morning. Breakfast skippers set themselves up for food failure as they replace the calories they didn't eat at breakfast with high sugar, high fat snacks and lunchtime and dinner binges. Eat a healthy breakfast packed with fibre and protein and you'll actually consume fewer calories throughout the day. Start as you mean to go on!
There have been a number of studies into the weight-loss benefits and general health benefits of eating breakfast regularly - we give you the science!
- A study of more than 2,000 girls aged 9 to 19 discovered that those who ate cereal regularly for breakfast experienced fewer weight problems than those who ate cereal rarely or never. In fact, those who occasionally ate cereal were 13% more at risk of being overweight than those who ate cereal regularly!
- Another study looked at the habits of 4,200 adults and discovered that those who ate breakfast regularly were also more likely to exercise regularly - they also consumed fewer calories overall throughout the course of their day.
Eating early in the day 'jump-starts' your metabolism and prevents binges later on. When you think about it, by skipping breakfast you are effectively putting your body into a state of starvation by fasting for 15 to 20 hours. Your body doesn't produce the enzymes it needs to metabolise fat, which means weight loss won't occur.
When to eat, what to eat
It's best to eat breakfast within an hour of waking, which means keeping your morning workouts short and sweet - exercise on an empty stomach and re-fuel afterwards with a healthy brekkie. But we're not just talking about any breakfast, oh no! A Full English fry up every morning isn't going to do the trick - you need to eat the right foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains. High fibre foods are the ideal breakfast choice - low in calories and fat yet packed with goodness, they leave you feeling fuller for longer (no mid-morning chocolate bars in sight!)
High-fibre, low energy-density foods such as yoghurt, oatmeal, nuts and fruits are a healthy choice and will fill you up. Adding protein to your breakfast is also a good move. Eggs are nutrient-dense and packed with protein; they're one of the best breakfast foods around and they're quick to prepare. Make an omelette loaded with veggies or serve them scrambled or poached on whole-grain toast.
Some is better than none!
We're all in agreement that some breakfast is better than no breakfast, so if you absolutely have to have a bagel with cream cheese and a Starbucks coffee, go ahead. Just don't do it every day! Avoid sugary cereals, pastries and processed breakfast options - instead opt for speedy almond milk porridge topped with nuts, seeds and berries or even a slice of wholegrain toast. For breakfast-on-the-go, whip up a fruit smoothie with berries and yoghurt or slice up an apple or banana and serve with a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter. These portable breakfasts can easily be packaged up to take to work or the gym!
Can eating breakfast really help me lose weight?
Yes - skipping breakfast or under-eating at breakfast means you'll consume more calories by the time lunch is over! Splitting your calories into three well-balanced meals and some healthy snacks means your body will stay fuelled no matter what the day throws at you. Aim to consume between 300 and 400 calories at breakfast (this is based on average calorie intakes, and obviously if you're working out, you may need more) and you shouldn't feel hungry again until lunchtime, provided you eat the right foods.
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