Breakfast for a Lean Body
Despite the amount of new diet theories, books, pills and exercise contraptions invented, obesity is becoming an increasing problem in our contemporary society. In 2008, Australia overtook America as the fattest developed nation in the world. Regardless of how much you exercise, unless you control your caloric intake, the elusive six pack, or even a more moderate fat loss, will remain hard to get until you control your diet. It’s long been believed that starting the day with a hearty breakfast is the best way to kick start your metabolism. Whist it is true that the digestion of food does require energy and creates a thermogenic effect, you may be wondering if eating a breakfast in the morning results in a higher overall energy expenditure or simply a lower average energy intake. In a recent study, it was found that there was a strong negative correlation between meal size early in the morning, and meal size late at night1. This means that those who ate more in the morning ate less total calories the rest of the day, and vice versa. I.e. those who didn't eat much in the morning ended up eating a greater amount over a 24 hr period than those who did eat breakfast. Another study looking at long term weight loss maintenance which gathered data from the United States National Weight Control Registry found there were several common themes among people who lost weight and kept it off, one of which was eating breakfast daily2.
Breakfast for Body Weight Management
There are many hypotheses why eating breakfast helps with weight maintenance and weight loss. The following list describes some of these hypotheses:
- Smaller Meal Hypothesis – By eating breakfast, you prime the stomach for the day and will feel less hungry during the period before lunch. Thus your meals will be more portion controlled leading to less calories throughout the day.
- Insulin Response Hypothesis – Vast changes in insulin and blood glucose levels leave you feeling more hungry than usual. By eating a healthy, portion controlled breakfast, these fluctuations of insulin are more stable leading to less extreme feelings of hunger and as a result less chances of overeating.
- Hormone Response Hypothesis – The type of breakfast eaten in the morning appears to be able to affect the release of certain hunger and appetite hormones in the body. The levels of the hormones ghrelin3 and leptin4 seem to be affected so that you feel less hungry and more satiated throughout the day leading to less calories consumed.
- It is important to note that all these reasons could be working together to help with weight maintenance and weight loss. Regardless of the reason, research shows that eating breakfast is a sure fire way to help you reach that goal weight and to maintain it.
Breakfast & Bodybuilding
Whether your goals for weight training are to bulk up, cut down or for another reason, the loss of unwanted fat will always be a benefit both for your goals and for future good health. Getting that elusive visible 6-pack means having a low body fat percentage. Excess fat in the body can lead to multiple possible issues down the track including diabetes, cardiovascular issues and poor bone health to name a few. Eating a healthy, nutritious and portion controlled breakfast every morning is an important step in helping you get rid of any excess weight (fat) that you may have. In summary, eating breakfast is not a magic solution to help you lose body fat. Sure, it can help but a better solution is to follow a sounds eating plan, combining this with an exercise programme and carefully monitoring yourself to optimise your fat loss.
1. de castro JM. ‘The time of day of food intake influences overall intake in humans.’ J Nutr 2004 Jan: 134 (1): pp 104-11.
2. Wing RR and Phelan S. ‘Long-term weight loss maintenance.’ Amer. Journ. Of Clin. Nutr. 2005 Jul: 82 (1): pp 222S-225S.
3. Blom WAM et al. ‘Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response.’ Amer. Journ. Of Clin. Nutr. 2006 Feb: 83 (2): pp 211-220.
4. Barkoukis H, Marchetti CM, Nolan B, Sistrun SN, Krishnan RK, Kirwan JP. ‘A High Glycemic Meal Suppresses the Postprandial Leptin Response in Normal Healthy Adults.’ Ann Nutr Metab 2007;51:512-518.