Megan O. Steintrager
Quick Omega-3 GranolaHaving kicked off this Year of Doable Challenges with a call to eat breakfast, I took notice when recent news headlines questioned a long-held belief (much repeated in the media) that starting the day with a good meal can help prevent weight gain and even help with weight loss. In the article Myths Surround Breakfast and Weight in The New York Times, Anahad O'Connor writes that "new research shows that despite the conventional weight-loss wisdom, the idea that eating breakfast helps you lose weight stems largely from misconstrued studies." It turns out the evidence is much more mixed and inconclusive than many people, including me, have come to believe, and that for some people, skipping breakfast might (and that might is important) lead to weight loss.
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But another line in The Times article jumped out at me: Referring to a study that looked at data from the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks more than 10,000 people who have lost weight and kept it off for a long time, researchers found no difference in the "reported energy intake" of breakfast eaters and skippers, but found that "breakfast eaters reported slightly more physical activity than non-breakfast eaters." Now, I don't want to go too far down the anecdotal evidence path here, but in my own experience, eating a good breakfast is key to my morning workouts, which I believe are in turn key to my ability to maintain a healthy weight. Plus, as Kathleen Zelman, a registered dietitian and director of nutrition at WebMD, explained when I interviewed her for the aforementioned breakfast challenge, breakfast provides fuel not just for your muscles but also for your brain, setting you up for a productive day. And, eating breakfast also gives you a jump-start on your USDA daily recommended servings. For me, that usually means getting some calcium and protein from yogurt, fiber and more protein from muesli with oats and nuts, and a serving of fruit (not to mention a pretty good kick of caffeine from espresso). That's what works for me. What works for you when it comes to breakfast? Please share your anecdotal evidence on the benefits and downsides of a.m. eating!
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