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The Breakfast Club

July 20, 2010

Is it an old wives tale or is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Perhaps your Mom always made you eat hot lumpy cereal in the morning, so as soon as you escaped her clutches, you developed the coffee and cigarette habit. And ever since, breakfast has been a bagel—at lunchtime.

Okay, you’re adolescence has ended and now it’s time for a change. You’ve stopped that smoking thing— it was smelly and made your teeth yellow, anyway. But your pants are too tight, you cannot climb a set of stairs without huffing and puffing and you feel much older than your years.

Back to breakfast. Yes, it’s true: breakfast can make or break a diet, because breakfast helps set the tone for the rest of the day. If you’re one of those people who thinks skipping breakfast is a good way to lose weight, think again. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should definitely eat breakfast, every day:

1. Break the fast. Ever think of what "breakfast" means? Your body responds to not eating for hours and hours by "slowing down," diminishing its metabolic rate and burning fewer calories to conserve energy. By eating breakfast, you wake up your metabolism and get your engine humming, so you can burn those calories you need to use up to lose weight.

2. Eat more, weigh less. Researchers have repeatedly shown that people who eat breakfast have a better chance of losing weight—and keeping it off. When you skip breakfast, you’re so hungry by lunchtime that you eat the entire cow! The National Weight Control Registry shows that among those who’ve lost 30 or more pounds and have kept it off more than a year, 90 percent report eating breakfast most days of the week.

3. Up your marks or your approval rating. Are you interested in doing better at work or school? Don’t be a bed head—breakfast helps wake you up. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more alert and do better on tests than people who skip breakfast. The USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Symposium titled Breakfast and Learning in Children cites a "myriad" of studies that show eating breakfast helps "improve memory and positively affects the tasks that require the retention of new information”.

4. Brighten your mood. Conversely, studies show that hungry children can be apathetic, disinterested and irritable when confronted with difficult tasks. Breakfast is the key. No doubt adults need breakfast as much as kids do.

5. Eggs are great food. Breakfast is your chance to eat the foods you may not eat the rest of the day. You can't go wrong with eggs any way you want them: sunny side up, scrambled, poached, fried or any kind of an omelet.

6. Don’t be a grouch. Skipping breakfast makes you grouchy. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to be in better moods (when I’m hungry, watch out!). Breakfast gets you started on the right track for the day. If you start out with a healthy breakfast, then you set the mood for lunch. You're more likely to choose something reasonable for lunch if you’ve paid some attention to your breakfast choices.

7. No more sugar roller coaster. Forget the Danish or sugared doughnut fantasy first thing in the morning: they cause your blood sugar to skyrocket up and then crash to the ground a couple of hours later. You’ll be desperate for something to perk you up and are more likely to grab another high-sugar refined carb food for a quick sugar rush.

8. Oil your Machinery Breakfast makes your body run better. Get yourself on a schedule with a healthy breakfast, and you’re ready to take on the world.

9. Set a good example. If you're a parent, you want to teach your kids good habits. By skipping breakfast, you’ll make your kids think it’s not important. Breakfast doesn't have to be a big affair, but don’t wimp out. Make it a habit and your kids will be way ahead of the game, too.

10. Read labels with a grain of salt. If it says, "nutritious," it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Cereal manufacturers are experts in marketing, using words that send a healthy-sounding message, but kids’ cereals often have more sugar than candy does. Protect your kids from getting hooked on these empty foods. They’ll get used to all the sugar and will want only the presweetened kind of cereal.

Register with Atkins today for additional tips, low carb recipes, and ideas on how to overcome your weight loss plateau.

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