A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Eat breakfast like a king . . .

on February 5, 2014
Our breakfast tray prepped for the morning. Getting things ready the night before makes it a lot easier on busy workday mornings!

Our breakfast tray prepped for the morning. Getting things ready the night before makes it a lot easier on busy workday mornings!

Almost every article you read about weight loss and weight maintenance suggests that you eat breakfast every day. It’s one of the things cited as a Research Finding from the National Weight Control Registry (link), noting that 78% of success losers and maintainers ate breakfast every day. Theories abound as to why breakfast is important, with many suggesting that it helps keep you from being hungry and overdoing it later in the day or that it resets something hormonal that changes the way our metabolism processes things. Some studies have shown that eating breakfast decreases the total number of calories you eat in a day. I particularly liked one study I heard about a year or so ago where they suggested you eat dessert for breakfast. It gave me fond memories of college, where pizza and brownies seemed like a perfectly rational breakfast choice.

I’ll confess, I really don’t have to be sold on the idea of eating breakfast. I don’t have to be sold on eating any meal, because eating is always a good thing in my mind, but breakfast is particularly one of my favorite meals. I love having time to make a big breakfast on the weekend (ah, the days before I had a two year old demanding his yogurt and cheerios) and it is my absolute favorite meal to eat out in a restaurant. That may be because of the coffee refills, though. If I’m left to put together dinner just for me, odds are good it is going to be breakfast for dinner.

Spinach, tomatoes, eggs & hot sauce baked together. Yum!

Spinach, tomatoes, eggs & hot sauce baked together. Yum! (Looked better before I dumped it out of its pretty dish, I promise!)

However, for people like my husband, who don’t naturally eat breakfast and don’t really notice a difference in their hunger levels and eating for the rest of the day, whether or not they eat breakfast, does breakfast truly matter?

A month or so ago I read a research paper in the journal Diabetes Care entitled “Breakfast Frequency and Development of Metabolic Risk” (authors Andrew O Odegaard, et al; October 2013; link to the abstract here ). I can only link the abstract here, but scout’s honor, I have access to the whole thing at work & read it all, including the statistics. This was a study looking at over 5000 adults in 4 metropolitan areas. This study followed these people over 18 years looking at changes in their BMI, waist circumference, development of diseases related to metabolic syndrome (like high blood pressure) and other outcomes in association with behaviors like eating breakfast. Their findings were really interesting. The more often you ate breakfast, the lower your BMI and waist circumference were. We’ve talked before about the flaws in BMI, so that in itself wasn’t hugely convincing or surprising to me. They also found that the more often you ate breakfast, the less likely you were to have high blood pressure. That definitely caught my attention, because that’s a measurable disease outcome that we know has risk associated with it. There were also decreases in metabolic syndrome and type II (or insulin resistant) diabetes.

The most interesting thing to me, though, was the fact that these benefits were not explainable by differences in the overall diet. They had participants tracking what they ate and a dietitian would review the diet and assign a score based on how healthy the diet was. The decrease in high blood pressure, obesity, etc, was there if you ate breakfast regardless of how well or poorly you ate for the rest of the day. At least in this study, the benefit of eating breakfast was not due to the fact that it helps you eat healthier for the rest of the day. There may in fact be some change in hormone regulation that occurs once you “break your fast”.

Like most research about health and diet, this study doesn’t demonstrate that there is one single reason breakfast is good for you. Nothing in the real world ever occurs in isolation and human beings are incredibly complicated systems, so the benefits of breakfast probably occur through lots of different avenues. Still, with the large number of patients and the amount of time they were followed, I was intrigued by this study and will definitely keep making my hubby eat breakfast each morning.

For most weekdays, I microwave egg whites and salsa in bowl for a quick scramble and make some toast with Laughing Cow cheese spread on top. I’ve also done waffles with PB2 and bananas and overnight steel cut oats (see those instructions here) with berries. If I have more time in the mornings, I love doing scrambles with loads of veggies or a baked eggs. What are you favorite breakfast dishes?

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9 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Eat breakfast like a king . . .

  1. I looooove breakfast foods. Usually in the mornings (weekdays) I’ll have oatmeal with almond milk and some kind of fruit. Saturday’s usually consist of a Clif bar pre-long run, then Sunday’s I’ll do something special like french toast or pancakes or an egg ‘n cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread!

    I also really like doing breakfast for dinner – breakfast tacos are the best!

  2. We are big breakfast eaters. During the week I usually suck down some oatmeal or some special K red berries.
    Weekends are pancakes (and some week nights too)

    • I hardly ever make pancakes, because I associate them so strongly with my mother and mine never measure up to hers. 🙂 There’s nothing like a big pile of pancakes on Sunday morning.

      Sent from my iPhone

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  3. leannenalani says:

    I loooove breakfast. I always eat my home made granola bars at work, but my favorite is oatmeal at home with PB2 and dried cherries.

    • That sounds great! I love PB2 in oatmeal but would have never thought of adding dried cherries. I’ll have to try that combo.

      On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 12:15 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  4. I love the idea of the breakfast tray; that is perfect! Our mornings are so rushed, so having the breakfast try would be so helpful! I love breakfast for dinner, too. What is interesting is that my husband is not a breakfast eater either (with the exception of one big weekend morning breakfast here and there), but he loves breakfast for dinner. It’s not that he doesn’t like breakfast foods, he just isn’t a morning eater. Strange. 🙂 I, on the other hand, love breakfast food anytime of day and I have to eat before 9 a.m. or I am a hangry gal. I love waffles with strawberries and whipped cream (and the occasional banana and Nutella thrown in for good measure) and I also love omelettes! Now I am hungry for breakfast. 🙂

    • We eat breakfast in bed together watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Sid the Science kid with O, so the tray has been a life saver. Even when we eat in the kitchen, I still like having a place to gather everything in the morning.

      Sent from my iPad

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  5. […] Thanks for understanding about yesterday! Today, I have a made a different choice. I woke up early because the dog was barking and instead of getting dressed to head out to run, I got dressed to go out to breakfast with my son. He and I have breakfast dates about every other Sunday, where just the two of us sneak out to breakfast so his dad can sleep in. It started because I know my husband misses sleeping in, but now O and I both enjoy the time for just us (and you know I  love to go out for breakfast). […]

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