Why You Shouldn't Skip Breakfast

A few years back, I read that one of the tricks Japanese sumo wrestlers use to gain weight is to not eat breakfast so that by lunchtime they are hungry enough to finish three to four huge servings (a two to three hour siesta then follows). Apparently, this no-breakfast rule is part of the traditional training of a sumo wrestler. This tip must work because, let's face it, they are highly successful at gaining weight.

All joking aside, research shows that non-breakfast eaters are more likely to be overweight than breakfast eaters are. In fact, weight loss experts like Kelly Brownell, author of The Learn Program for Weight Control, say that one characteristic common to overweight people is that they seldom eat breakfast.

Not eating breakfast leads to overeating later in the day.
According to nutritionists, many people think they will lose weight by skipping breakfast because they are cutting out a large amount of calories. In reality, not eating breakfast actually backfires on their weight loss efforts since they are so hungry by the time lunch comes around that they lose all semblance of self-control and eat everything in sight - just like the sumo wrestlers!

Elizabeth Somer, registered dietician and author of "Food & Mood: The Complete Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Your Best" says that breakfast helps you maintain a steady blood sugar and energy level so people who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat later in the day.

John Foreyt, Ph.D., and Ken Goodrick, Ph.D., developers of the Living Without Dieting Program say that regular meals help overweight individuals balance their blood sugar levels and hunger throughout the day. They notice that many overweight clients have developed a habit of overeating in the evening and then undereating in the morning. This lack of food in the morning sets them up to be overly hungry at night, making them likely to repeat the cycle.

Joy Bauer, author of "Idiot's Guide to Eating Smart" states that eating breakfast helps maintain your weight by regulating your appetite all through the day. She says breakfast helps you eat moderately during lunch and dinner.

Skipping breakfast can lower metabolism.
Skipping breakfast, according to Dr. Wayne Callaway, obesity specialist at George Washington University, can not only trigger overeating later in the day but can also cause a drop in metabolism. He found that people who skip breakfast have a five-percent lower metabolism than those who don't skip breakfast. He explains that eating (digesting and absorbing the food) raises metabolism so skipping meals can lower the metabolic rate slightly.

Skipping breakfast affects physical and mental performance.
Clinical and sports nutritionist Sanirose Orbeta mentions in her article "Power Breakfast" (Food Magazine) that the morning meal breaks a fast (that's why it's called "breakfast") that usually lasts from eight to12 hours. She says that by this time, your body's supply of blood sugar or glucose has dropped to a low point. Your body needs food to keep your energy levels high.

Orbeta goes on to mention that studies show people perform better physically and mentally in the morning hours if they eat breakfast. She says that students who skip breakfast don't perform well in school. Breakfast is supposed to provide us with the energy and nutrients to last until lunchtime. Therefore, she together with many other nutritionists say, "Don't skip breakfast!"

Eat breakfast even if you aren't hungry.
Orbeta says that no matter what your morning schedule is like, take time for some breakfast. She says to eat even if you don't have the appetite because you will see and feel the difference later in the day. Other nutritionists agree with her.

Lawrence Cheskin, head of the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says that even if you aren't much of a breakfast eater, you should eat at least a small bowl of cereal and a glass of juice because this will help curb the desire to overeat later.

Lisa Druxman, creator of the L.E.A.N. (Learning Eating Awareness and Nutrition) Program usually counsels clients to eat only when they are hungry because she says that many people gain weight from eating for other reasons aside from hunger (for example, boredom or stress). However, she says there is one exception to this no-eating-unless-hungry rule and that exception is breakfast. It has been found time and time again, she stresses, that breakfast jump-starts metabolism and actually helps people lose weight.

Breakfast ideas.
Due to the morning rush, you may not have the luxury to sit down to eat at leisure but, Orbeta says, you still need and deserve a good breakfast to help you perform better at work or at school. She gives some ideas for quick and easy breakfasts.

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