When we ask someone how they are trying to lose weight, we found that the most common strategy is to skip meals or to eat only one meal per day. You know what? It doesn’t work. Many of them said that they don’t eat breakfast. By skipping breakfast they figure they will be able to consume fewer calories during the day, because they will be eating only two meals rather than three. That’s the theory.
Here is the reality: In multiple studies done in a variety of populations, people who eat breakfast are much less likely to be over weight than people who don’t.
Some patients tell that they are hungry at breakfast time, and that may well be true. There are aspects of meal scheduling and hunger that are learned; that’s why we are hungry every 4 to 5 hours during the day but can go 8 hours overnight as we sleep. If you are out of the habit of breakfast, you will find yourself anticipating the meal and getting hungry for it as you do for your other meals.
The other comment heard from people is that they get hungry just as a couple of hours after eating breakfast and feel as though they stay hungry for the rest of the morning. This is we thought more a function of what they eat for breakfast that the fact that they are eating breakfast. The most common type of adult breakfast is a quick donut, muffin, roll or a toast and coffee. This breakfast may in fact make you hungry just a couple of hours later, because it’s not very much to eat and it doesn’t stick around very long.
Foods containing only refined flour and maybe some fat contain a lot of calories but are not very satiating. If you ate a plain bagel with cream cheese, you would be eating just over 600 calories. A blueberry muffin with raisins and a smear of butter – that is almost 500 calories. According to experience, a couple of hours after this kind of breakfast, you find yourself at the snack machine eyeing a bag of cheese puffs, just a little of something to tide you over until lunchtime.
So, what you eat for breakfast? Well, in a survey of 122 healthy older men and women, those who were a normal weight ate a more varied breakfast, eating from both a greater number of foods and more group of foods. They also spent a longer time eating their breakfast and consumed greater quantities of food than did their overweight counterparts.
So eating a variety of foods and eating enough food is good. A more specific recommendations depends on your diet and the foods you like. In general, we tend to recommend either a high-fiber cereal with fruits and maybe a piece of toast with peanut butter or, if you are counting carbohydrates, something that provides protein with a minimal amount of saturated fat maybe a poached egg with a couple of slices of bacon.