People have complained that it is relatively hard to lose weight during particular seasons and relatively easy to lose weight during others. This is not just a matter of Christmas, New Year’s, and other traditional holidays, although the grouping of these days hardly helps. This period comes with a lot of free food and free time. We engage in less physical activities and eat more than other days. But it is not just the timing of holidays or seasons that affect weight gain or loss: even the time we eat has a lot to do with our weight. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner if not eaten at the right time can lead to excessive weight gain. Breakfast has long been regarded as the most important meal of the day, and it is for no small reason.
Skipping Breakfast Is Harmful
It has been known for several decades that the composition of the initial meal of the day tends to set the body’s response to food intake later in the day. Not eating breakfast, for instance, tells the body that it should reduce energy expenditures and conserve in the face of famine conditions. Eating refined carbohydrates and sugars causes an insulin release that blocks fat metabolism, forcing the body to rely on stored glycogen for energy. Protein breakfasts including either fat or carbohydrates tend to even out energy levels and retain what is known as “metabolic flexibility,” the ability to harness either glucose or stored fat for fuel as needed. The percentage of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in the food we eat and the time we eat it affects our weight.
Increased protein consumption at breakfast proves to be especially helpful. For instance, in overweight “breakfast-skipping” late-adolescent girls, breakfast, and especially a high protein breakfast led to better appetite control, better regulation of food intake and reduced evening snacking compared to not eating breakfast. A study in overweight and obese adults found that a low-carbohydrate breakfast (not specifically high in protein) and a high-protein plus carbohydrate breakfast led to impressive weight loss over a period of 16 weeks when followed in conjunction with reduced energy intake. It is easier to add protein to more “normal” meal patterns than it is to radically reduce carbohydrates. Low-carbohydrate diets tend to lead to considerable rebound as dieters return to their normal eating habits. People who have increased their protein consumption along with changing other eating habits find it easier to continue some version of their new eating pattern.
Trying To Lose Weight? DON’T Skip Breakfast
Eating breakfast, especially one that is high in protein, has been found again and again to be superior to skipping breakfast or eating a breakfast built around carbohydrates. The shakeout in meal composition revolves much more around the role of protein than fat because fats actually play a somewhat neutral role. Carbohydrate-restricted diets high in either saturated fat or protein are equally effective at promoting fat loss and improving blood lipids. The primary difference is that in those who are overweight or obese, as opposed to in individuals who are lean or normal weight, fat has less satiating power than does protein. Food eaten at breakfast tend to determine the body’s ability to retain metabolic flexibility later in the day. Breakfast that contains significant fat does not tend to interfere with the ability to metabolize fat rather than store it later in the day, breakfasts built around carbohydrates do, and protein is great for the body balance.
So, while it’s extremely important to eat breakfast for weight loss and to maintain a healthy weight, it’s just as important to make sure you pay attention to what you are eating. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are all great sources of fuel for your body, and they will help to set the foundation for your day’s choices when it comes to food. If you start the day with a healthy breakfast, it’s easier to stay on track throughout the day. Eating more at breakfast and less in the evening meal leads to better appetite control and better metabolic functioning along with better weight control. Eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates at the morning meal, likewise, leads to greater metabolic flexibility later in the day.
Caloric restriction is believed to be the most effective method of weight loss, but when you eat may affect how your weight loss journey goes. The recommended route to managing your food intake is to have an eating schedule that is healthy and easy to maintain. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day.
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