Why does eating a healthy breakfast help control weight?

Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Here are some of the ways that regularly eating a healthy breakfast may help you lose excess weight and maintain your weight loss:

  • Reduced hunger. Eating breakfast may reduce your hunger later in the day, which may make it easier to avoid overeating. When you skip breakfast, you may feel ravenous later and be tempted to reach for a quick fix — such as vending machine candy or doughnuts at the office. In addition, the prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body's insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain. In fact, skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity.
  • Healthy choices. Eating breakfast may get you on track to make healthy choices all day. When you eat breakfast, you tend to eat a healthier overall diet, one that is more nutritious and lower in fat. When you skip breakfast, you're more likely to skip fruits and vegetables the rest of the day, too.
  • More energy. Eating breakfast may give you energy, increasing your physical activity during the day. A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your muscles with immediate energy. Skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity.

So, if you skip breakfast — whether you're trying to save time or cut calories — you may want to reconsider, especially if you're trying to control your weight.

Jul. 23, 2011