Breakfast Linked to Weightloss
by James Mrohs


Want to lose weight? Eat breakfast. We all know how hard it is to make breakfast out the door, as you wake up in the middle of Isla Vista six minutes before class starts, but studies now clearly correlate lower weight with eating in the morning. Though you may have always ignored your parents’ calls to not forget the most important meal of the day, people who skip breakfast regularly are 450 percent more likely to be obese than regular breakfast eaters, according to studies done at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Now this doesn’t mean that missing breakfast will make you pack on the pounds, nor will eating breakfast make a model of you, but the newest studies all agree, breakfast has some serious importance in a healthy lifestyle.

Several recent studies report that on average, people who eat breakfast weigh less and have lower average Body Mass Indexes (BMIs), the latest one coming out of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Accounting for differences in race, economic status, and location, the study revealed that eating breakfast is inherently correlated with a lower BMI. Reasons for this are not yet entirely clear, but there are many ideas that make sense. For one, eating food in the morning kick starts your metabolism, and gets it running in full gear earlier in the morning, rather than waiting until lunch. Many don’t realize it, but when you don’t eat breakfast after a good night’s sleep, you can end up effectively fasting for 13-16 hours. In addition to slowing down your metabolism with nothing to digest, by the time your hunger rolls around at lunch, you’ll be much hungrier, and thus more likely to overeat.

Eating breakfast also helps improve your general attitude and decreases hunger throughout the day. Fasting stresses out your body, which in turn puts stress on your mind, leading to irritability and overall fatigue. Not eating in the morning is often a contributor to sluggish and groggy feelings, and while the slight high that your early coffee gives you will often alleviate this, it is merely treating the symptom, not the cause. Eating breakfast will keep your mind and body energized, increasing energy and generally improving overall attitude. Maybe all your grumpy roommate needs in the morning is a fried egg and toast.

Getting calories in earlier in the day is also better for weight control, as the staggering of calories helps decrease cravings and keeps an even metabolism. By not focusing on gorging yourself at lunch, and instead allowing yourself a full breakfast and occasional healthy snack, you’ll be able to better control both what and how much you eat. Having a huge meal for lunch or dinner also puts your metabolism into overdrive, which leads to the familiar fatigue of a big meal, due to your digestive system taking over so much of your body’s attention.

The breakfast foods eaten also make quite a difference. The general types of food eaten in the morning are actually quite a good way to jump start your day. Fruits give your body immediate sugar and vitamin access, dairy and eggs provide essential minerals and protein, and grains give your body complex carbohydrates and fiber to really get your metabolism working hard. Don’t forget how good breakfast is for your brain, either. Studies continually indicate that breakfast contributes to both immediate brain function as well as improving general memory throughout the day. The adage of eating a large breakfast before an important test holds true, as getting glucose to your brain early on lets it get started running faster and harder. What you eat in the morning, however, has nothing to do with the brain benefits. A recent study showed that carbohydrates, fats, and proteins all increased memory function when eaten at breakfast. All that matters is that you eat something when you wake up- if all you care about are the benefits to your mind.

Before you begin to believe that eating breakfast alone will let you drop 20 pounds by summer, there are a few things to note. Most importantly, these studies all show correlation, not causation. There are many mechanics that make sense for why eating breakfast would cause a lower weight, but no study so far can prove 100 percent causation. In addition, an unhealthy breakfast is of course just as bad for you as an unhealthy lunch, so treating what you eat with a little more consideration is just as important. Lastly, and least important, of the four latest studies on breakfast and weight, three were partially funded by cereal companies. This is least important because they were also funded and conducted by the National Institute of Health, and other studies have been done by the National Weight Control Registry and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, all reaching the same conclusion. Additionally, in all of the studies, there was not a single mention or issue of cereal or other specific breakfast food, rather all studies focused on the simple issue of whether or not breakfast was eaten regularly.

The simple truth is breakfast has rightly earned its designation as the most important meal in the day. Contributing to a healthier weight, overall wellness, and improving brain power are all worth getting up five minutes earlier for an English muffin and orange juice, at the very least.