The Best Kind Of Breakfast To Eat, According To Metabolism Experts

The Best Kind Of Breakfast To Eat, According To Metabolism Experts

If there’s a discussion that we have often atCooking Light, it’s about whether breakfast is really so important. Readers constantly ask: Will skipping breakfast cause me to gain weight? How exactly does breakfast help me stay healthy?

And there’s so much conflicting research that it’s hard to keep track. Some studies show that the meal jump-starts your metabolism, promoting weight loss. Others suggest it doesn’t make much difference whether you skip it or not. Still others findskipping breakfast may help you lose weight -writes

So to set the record straight — or at least get the most up-to-date info, we reached out to a team of professionals who agreed to provide some much-needed clarity.

These experts have read the research, have helped plenty of clients get healthy, and know how to eat well and stay healthy. Here’s what they say.

Cynthia Sass, RD is a New York Times bestselling author and contributing editor for Health magazine, sharing her expertise with clients and on programs like the TODAY Show and Good Morning America. Jennifer Markowitz MS, RD, is a dietitian and nutritionist who works with clients to help identify the best approach to a healthy diet and holistic health. And Kelly Allison, PhD, is the director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders

We asked these pros to help answer some of the most common questions when it comes to discussing breakfast importance for our health, and we’re presenting them here, in their own words:

Does skipping breakfast cause you to gain weight?

Jennifer Markowitz: “I think, unfortunately, that a lot of people ask this question and hope to find one right answer for a one-size-fits-all solution.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re someone who does eat breakfast, you need to continue eating breakfast. The truth is that most of the time, the caloric intake throughout the entire day is indeed the same if you’re eating breakfast or not. But the difference is that breakfast jump-starts your metabolism. I’m also familiar with research that shows one thing people who are able to maintain weight loss have in common is that they are eating breakfast.”

Beyond weight gain or weight loss, is there another reason why breakfast plays a role in our health?

Cynthia Sass: “A big advantage that breakfast can have is the ability for you to fit in more food groups that you might normally have trouble fitting in. Normally, I’d recommend five servings of fresh vegetables each day for my clients — that’s not the easiest thing for some to get in every day.

Kelly Allison: “With my patients, I always ask: what time do you get up? When do you start feeling hungry? Realistically, what time can you eat early as possible, rather than having you eat so late in the day that you’re up against bedtime when you finally stop eating or snacking.

If you get up at 7:30, I ask them, can you be finished with all of your eating by 7:30pm? If you’re eating lunch at 1030 or 11, it’s fine — but where I see skipping breakfast as a huge problem is when my patients lose control at lunchtime. They’re making poor food choices and eating bigger quantities than if they had a reasonable breakfast and comparable lunch.

Does time have anything to do with the importance of breakfast, or any other meal for that matter? How does our metabolism relate to breakfast?

Kelly Allison: “What we know is that breakfast influences our circadian rhythm, and when that first meal is given earlier in the day versus later towards lunchtime, glucose levels respond better generally and the body in turn burns more of the fat and calories rather than storing them.

There are metabolic benefits to eating earlier in the day, and for people who don’t eat breakfast, that doesn’t happen. If you go too long without eating and then try to be active during the day, you’re slowing everything down and then introducing calories when glucose levels have already dropped. The body functions best when there’s a reliable source of energy, especially when you get up and start moving around.”

What are some of the best foods dieters can eat during breakfast? Why?

Cynthia Sass: “In my opinion, the quality of the breakfast you’re eating makes a huge difference. If you’re someone who is eating pancakes with syrup and butter, or processed Pop Tarts, perhaps that’s why you’re not seeing much of a difference in weight management.

Studies show that metabolism responds to different kinds of calories as far as the quality of the calories you’re consuming, and if you transition from eating processed calories to more natural sources of energy, you could see a huge difference. 500 calories from a packaged blueberry muffin compared to 500 calories of oats, blueberries and cinnamon is processed differently. A calorie isn’t just a calorie; the quality of what you’re eating makes a big difference in terms of how your body responds and what it does with those calories.”

Do you have any tips for those who may not regularly eat breakfast? How can we successfully fit in this meal each morning?

Cynthia Sass: “One of the best tactics I have with my clients is a stepladder approach: Start with just one food that you can incorporate into a breakfast or morning snack. It could be a small handful of nuts, a quarter cup of almonds or pistachios on it’s own completely.

Choose something that is compact that can provide some healthy fat, fiber and protein, and pack overall good nutritional value into the first thing you’ve eaten in the morning. My clients notice they’re starting to wake up hungrier each day, and add more healthy options to their daily routine until they’re comfortable with a full meal.”

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