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The Nutrition Benefits of Breakfast

How do we define breakfast?

Breakfast is the first meal of the day that breaks the fast after the longest period of sleep and is consumed within 2 to 3 hours of waking; it is comprised of food or beverage from at least one food group, and may be consumed at any location.

Why eat breakfast?

There seems to be a positive correlation between eating breakfast and eating a healthy diet that helps in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Nutrition research has found that regularly eating a healthy breakfast may help you lose excess weight and maintain your weight loss in the following ways:

1. 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 that doughnut in the break room at the office.
  • 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.

2. Healthy choices

  • Eating breakfast may get you on track to make healthy choices all day.
  • People who eat breakfast tend to eat a healthier overall diet, one that is more nutritious and lower in fat.
  • People who skip breakfast are more likely to skip healthy foods like fruits and vegetables the rest of the day, too.
  • People who eat breakfast consistently eat higher intakes of several nutrients of concern, including calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, iron, and vitamin B-12.

3. More energy

  • A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your muscles with immediate energy.
  • Routinely skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity.

Exactly how breakfast habits can reduce obesity risk is unclear, but the frequency of meal consumption throughout the day appears to bring about changes involved in regulating blood glucose and insulin levels, fat metabolism, and appetite and calorie balance.