Are you a breakfast skipper? Then you’ve probably been lectured about breakfast being “the most important meal of the day” as the culinary kick-start you need to fuel a healthy day ahead. But, take heart. Two new studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — one conducted by a self-proclaimed breakfast skipper at the University of Bath in England and the other by obesity researchers at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) — concluded that folks who say no to the bacon and eggs, or granola and toast are not more prone to weight gain.
David Allison, director of UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center, said their study comparing weight loss in breakfast eating and breakfast skipping groups of overweight and obese adult dieters found that the morning meal made no difference in weight loss over 16 weeks. The study in Bath found that breakfast didn’t rev up the metabolism, a commonly held nutrition notion. Those who abstained from breakfast did in fact “save calories” because they ate fewer calories over the whole day as compared to breakfast eaters. But, eating breakfast was associated with burning more calories because these folks were more physically active in the morning. Hungry yet?
There’s more to the morning meal than calorie counts. Nutrition research supports the fact that the body best uses protein to maintain muscle mass when protein-containing foods are eaten throughout the day, not in one sitting. That huge steak for dinner is not the best idea for body building. Ideally, each meal should contain about 30 grams of protein. So, the protein in Greek yogurt, milk with cereal or scrambled eggs at breakfast helps build, repair and maintain our muscles. Ditto 30 grams for lunch and then at dinner. Thirty grams is about 3 ounces.
Other research links eating breakfast with improved cognitive function throughout the morning. Hello back to school families! Breakfast eaters do better paying attention in morning classes.
Did you know even if your quickie breakfast is a just a latte you’re getting some good nutrition? A typical 12-ounce coffee latte with milk contains about one-third of the calcium needs for the day and milk provides other nutrients including protein and potassium.
So, while skipping breakfast may not cause you to eat more the rest of the day — resulting in weight gain — it’s still vitally important to enjoy a nutrient rich morning meal to boost the health of your body and brain.