It has often been said that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Whether this is precisely true is a matter of some debate amongst nutrition experts and scientists, but what’s definitely clear is that a healthy breakfast can be beneficial for those who are trying to lose weight. In an American diet noted for sugary breakfast foods, though, actually eating a healthy breakfast can be a challenge. But by being mindful of food choices (and their associated calorie count), breakfast can be a good way to start the day while also fostering ongoing weight loss.
Once held as axiomatically true, the idea of breakfast being a crucial meal has come under much scrutiny in the last few decades. This is partly because many Americans are leading busier lives, but it’s also because of the rise of new ideas about dieting like intermittent fasting; this diet plan aims to reduce daily calorie intake (and improve metabolic activity) by restricting eating to certain times of the day. One of the most popular versions of the diet involves skipping breakfast entirely and only eating during an eight-hour window between lunch and dinner.
Research into the effects of breakfast on metabolism and weight change is still ongoing, but many recent studies have indicated a correlation between eating breakfast and overall health. These same studies aren’t suggesting a causal relationship between eating breakfast and health; rather, the evidence suggests that those who regularly eat breakfast are more likely to have healthy daily habits in general. So the best conclusion might be that eating breakfast is good for you as long as the food choices and calorie counts are healthy and appropriate for your specific daily energy needs.
Nutritional information labels on packaged foods have recommendations based on a 2000-calorie-per-day diet; this is a reasonable baseline figure, but the truth is that everyone has slightly different energy needs depending on their gender, age, height, and activity level. Generally speaking, women need around 2000 calories a day to maintain their weight and men need around 2500. To lose weight, of course, you will need to consume fewer calories than your body uses to function normally.
Of those daily calories, breakfast should ideally be a small slice of the total number consumed. Yet rather than thinking of a specific number of calories to eat for the breakfast meal, it would be more accurate to think of breakfast as a percentage of overall calories for the day. In that sense, a good rule of thumb is that a quarter to a third of the day’s calories should come from breakfast. For some people, that may even seem like a lot, especially since many breakfast foods are an afterthought and meant to be quickly prepared; however, there is evidence that a more sizable breakfast can help diminish the kinds of food cravings throughout the day that tend to lead to unhealthy snacking.
As noted above, research indicates that there’s nothing particularly special or beneficial about breakfast in terms of its effect on metabolic rate. But eating breakfast regularly can help you maintain a regular routine and diet that fosters weight loss. The key is ingesting fewer calories than you use, and that is often best accomplished by choosing foods that are rich in protein and other valuable nutrients so that you feel full longer and have less of an urge to snack; while there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with snacking, it is nevertheless an easy way to accidentally consume more calories than you intended.
There are endless possibilities for a healthy breakfast, but there are some foods you should avoid if you’re trying to lose weight: donuts, muffins, and other baked goods are high in sugar content and other refined carbohydrates. Below are some healthy breakfast ideas that are relatively easy to prepare and will keep you feeling satiated until it’s time for lunch:
One of the key elements to a healthy breakfast (and a weight loss-centric diet in general) is sufficient protein content. Most people tend to choose breakfast foods that are high in carbohydrates. While carbs are an important part of nutrition, it’s important for them to be appropriately balanced with fat and protein; a good rule of thumb is for breakfast calories (and essentially every meal if possible) to be 40% from carbohydrates, 30% from fats, and 30% from protein.
Beginning the day with a healthy breakfast is a good way to start the day, and it can also be a helpful part of a person’s weight loss journey. But contrary to some myths, simply making sure you eat breakfast isn’t a guaranteed path to weight loss. The truth is that losing weight and keeping it off requires a balanced mix of changes to eating habits and physical activity. There are no shortcuts around the central principle of consuming a lower amount of calories than your body uses.
Yet even as straightforward as that truth is, it can be very difficult to actually realize weight loss. This is especially true when our lives are busy and full of activities that often run counter to those weight loss goals. In fact, studies have shown very clearly that most people are unsuccessful when they try to lose weight; even if they do lose some weight, they tend to put it back on a few months later.
Fortunately, though, there are now a series of state-of-the-art medical procedures that can help people find new success. Even bariatric surgery options, which have become fairly standard and safe in the past few decades, still involve some incisions and extensive recovery time. At True You, a weight loss center that specializes in these new methods, advances in endoscopy have made it possible to get the benefits of weight loss surgery without the traditional risks of surgical incisions.
Switching to a healthier breakfast can be a first step toward weight loss, but many people need some more help to get the freedom they’ve been searching for. If you have been trying to lose weight through traditional methods without much success, it might be time to consider a non-surgical procedure like ESG (endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty) that can help you finally achieve your weight loss goals. Contact us today to request a consultation.