In this month's American
Journal of Lifestyle Medicine,
researchers state that breakfast
is one of the best therapies to
curb the obesity and diabetes
There has been a
remarkable change in the types
of foods consumed at breakfast
over the past 40 to 50 years.
The "typical" American breakfast
in the 1960s consisted of bacon,
eggs, toast, and milk, which has
now been replaced with
Ready-to-Eat Cereals (RTECs) and
other carbohydrate-rich breads.
The shift in food selection at
breakfast has also been
accompanied by a reduction in
the number of people who
actually eat breakfast.
Many studies have shown that
those who eat breakfast eat
fewer unhealthy snacks, exhibit
improved appetite, satiety, and
have better body weight
breakfast consumers have, on
average, better glucose control
throughout the day compared with
those who skip
breakfast. Approximately 32% of
adolescents skip breakfast on a
daily basis, and up to 60% skip
breakfast more than 3 times per
week. Studies indicate that the
substantial decline in breakfast
consumption in the past 20 years
has closely paralleled the
significant increase in obesity.
One of the key studies
surrounding breakfast and
pertains to the men and women
who are part of the National
Weight Control Registry (NWCR).
To date, the NWCR has followed
more than 5000 individuals who
have lost at least 13.6 kg for
at least 1 year, with the goal
of identifying the
characteristics of individuals
who have succeeded at long-term
weight reduction. When examining
the dietary habits of these
individuals, the majority (78%)
reported eating breakfast on a
daily basis, whereas only 4%
never eat breakfast.
The researchers indicate
that the addition of a 500
kilocalorie breakfast leads to
reductions in perceived appetite,
increases in perceived fullness,
increases in the satiety hormone
PYY, and decreases in the neural
activations in brain regions
controlling food motivation and
reward in habitual
Furthermore, the addition of
breakfast leads to a reduction in
energy intake at lunch.
Even more exciting is that the
researchers delved into the make-up
of the ideal breakfast, and implored
dietary health professionals to
promote lean, high quality protein
meals lead to post-meal, daily, and
long-term reductions in feelings of
perceived hunger, increases in
perceived fullness, and reductions
in the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Furthermore, high-protein breakfasts
lead to greater reductions in neural
activation associated with food
cravings and executive control
compared with the normal-protein
breakfast. Subsequent (i.e. lunch)
energy intake is also lower
following the high-protein breakfast
versus skipping breakfast or
consuming the normal-protein
The evidence is undeniable.
So why do so many of us skip or eat
Lack of hunger upon waking
is a primary reason.
Not enough time in the morning.
Lack of convenience
Forgetting to eat.
Not sure what to eat.
Kids have undo influence over
Include an equal amount of
carbohydrate and protein foods
on your breakfast plate.
Ideally, the carbs should be
fruits and vegetables.
Prepare breakfast the
night before. Reheat in the
Make it a priority to eat
breakfast as a family.
Incorporate a variety of
healthy, protein-rich foods to
increase desire to eat breakfast
(leftovers, hard-boiled eggs,
Greek yogurt, nuts, fruits,
For more detailed information
and menus, access our New
American Breakfast Action Plan. If
you are not an NCI Well Connect
subscriber, you can purchase the New
American Breakfast separately here.
NCI Well Connect subscribers, it is
free by email request. To become a
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