The savory scent of a sizzling omelette with bacon and cheese, the energizing fragrance of freshly squeezed orange juice or the comforting whiff of maple syrup over fluffy pancakes… For some, this is a dream come true when they rise and shine, for others it is just nauseating. Breakfast is not for everyone, but according to studies, it should be, especially if you are trying to shed down those extra pounds. Remember that saying that grandma probably said to you as a child, “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”? Is that really true? And does it mean that if you skip breakfast will you gain weight instead?
Well, yes and no. The truth is that our body uses energy for everything we do, including eating. Energy is needed to store food in our stomach, transport it to our small intestine, absorb it, and digest it. This, together with our personal metabolic rate and physical activity, determines our daily calorie intake. When we burn more calories than we consume, we end up losing weight. Studies show that eating a meal in the morning actually boosts the metabolism more than eating the same meal in the evening. Besides, without any food in the morning, people usually tend to reach for higher calorie meals at lunchtime simply because they are hungrier.
So stock up in those morning calories and make them count. Yes, you heard it right, more calories in the morning might lead to more efficient weight loss. According to a recent study, one group of people ate 700 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 200 calories at dinner, while another group ate 200 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 700 calories at dinner. Twelve weeks later, those who’d been eating a 700-calorie breakfast had lost two and a half times more weight than the other group, likely because your metabolism is at its most efficient in the morning.
That said, it doesn’t mean that you should gorge on tons of sugar donuts. “Healthy” is obviously the key word here. Many breakfast meals are high in calories but low in protein. A meal balanced with important macronutrients, for example, almond butter and Greek yogurt with fruit, keeps your blood sugar steady, unlike a large cafe muffin, which can be equivalent to a piece of cake in calories. So let’s see what the experts recommend as the best breakfast food for weight loss.
Undisputedly the “breakfast king”, numerous studies have shown that eating eggs in the morning increases feelings of fullness, reduces calorie intake at the next meal and helps maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels. In fact, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt fuller longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast.
Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient that’s very important for brain and liver health, says Martha McKittrick, RD, CDN, CDE. In addition, egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help prevent eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration. Eggs are also high in cholesterol, but they don’t raise cholesterol levels in most people.
Natural yogurt is well known to be very good for you, but Greek yogurt in particular appear to be the best. It is made by straining whey and other liquid from the curds, which produces a creamier yogurt that is more concentrated in protein. Yogurt and other dairy products can also help with weight control, because they increase levels of hormones that promote fullness.
A recent Harvard report published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed the top five foods that promote weight loss. Yogurt was one of them! Certain types of Greek yogurt are good sources of probiotics, like Bifidobacterium, which help your gut stay healthy. If you need a little extra sweetness, try topping it with berries or chopped fruit in order to increase the meal’s vitamin, mineral and fiber content.