What’s the most important meal of the day when it comes to weight loss and overall health? Researchers have repeatedly shown that people who eat breakfast have a better chance of losing weight—and keeping it off. 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. And now, a new study in the journal Diabetes Care shows that eating breakfast every day is strongly associated with a reduced risk of a spectrum of metabolic conditions, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, here are some other excellent reasons why you should eat breakfast:
1) Breakfast burns calories. 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) Breakfast is good for your brain. 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”.
3) Breakfast boosts your mood. 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.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can eat just any breakfast! 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. And, 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. Fortunately there are plenty of low-carb breakfast options that you (and your family) can start the day with, including almost any type of egg, a wide assortment of fresh produce, smoothies, meats and more. Be sure to check out our Recipes section for many delicious low-carb breakfast options.
If you’re short on time, you can always substitute an Atkins Advantage™ or Day Break™ bar or shake or an Atkins Frozen Meal. And good news for coffee lovers! Moderate caffeine or tea intake is actually associated with improved long-term health benefits and assists in regulation of body weight. Coffee and tea contain several antioxidants and a little caffeine has the added benefit of mildly enhancing fat burning (caffeine, not coffee per se, increases fat burning).