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Eat breakfast, stay healthy

7 August, 2012

Natural Health News — Skipping breakfast can lead to more unhealthy habits throughout the rest of the day.

Compared to those of us who don’t skip our breakfast, those who do are prone to a number of other unhealthy habits throughout the day.

These include an increased consumption of sugary drinks and high-calorie snacks, that mean breakfast-skippers tend to weigh more than their breakfast eating-counterparts.

Speaking a panel discussion at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2012 Annual Meeting & Food Expo, Nancy Auestad, PhD, of the Diary Research Institute, said research has shown that 18% of Americans above the age of 2 regularly skip their breakfast, missing out on a number of key nutrients in the process, including vitamins A, D and B12

Young people affected

Amongst young people, it has been found that those who skip breakfast consume 40% more sweets, and 55% more soft drinks, whilst lowering their consumption of vegetables by 45%, and fruit by 30%.

This, said Heather Leidy, PhD, of the University of Missouri, could be remedied by simply eating breakfast.

In her recent study, she split a group of breakfast-skipping teenagers into three groups that either consumed no breakfast, a low-protein breakfast, or a high-protein breakfast. Results showed that a healthy breakfast lead to less overeating throughout the day, and this was especially prominent amongst the high-protein group. They consumed 200 fewer calories in evening snacking as a result.

Fighting disease

In the UK around 1 in 3 of us skips breakfast, even though decades of research have shown that a morning meal helps control hunger as well as improving  concentration and mood. Recent studies on the importance of breakfast confirm this.

For example, Earlier this year researchers at Harvard School of Public Medicine found that men who skip breakfast are 20% more likely to develop diabetes than those who don’t.

Other studies have also been conducted worldwide on the importance of eating breakfast:

A study in Korea looked at 415 adults between the age of 30 and 50. Measurements of dietary intake, body fat measurements and blood analysis showed that those who rarely ate breakfast tended to consume much more fat throughout the day, and came to the conclusion that eating a breakfast can lead to better food choices during the rest of the day.

A separate British study, which analysed 1488 people born in 1946, looked at the link between diet and the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is associated diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Eating a low-fat breakfast or mid morning meal greatly reduced the risk of developing metabolic syndrome within the next 10 years.

A healthy start

An adequate breakfast doesn’t need to be time consuming. NHS Choices in the UK suggests these top 5 fast and easy choices to start your day:

1. Porridge made with semi-skimmed milk topped with a selection of dried fruits

Oats are a good source of insoluble fibre and may help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Oats also release energy slowly, making you feel fuller for longer. A tablespoon of dried fruit (30g) your 5 a Day.

2. Muesli, fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt

Fruit that is added to your muesli counts towards your fruit and veg 5 a Day. Low-fat yoghurt provides calcium, protein and is low in fat, making this a healthier way to start the day.

3. Wholegrain breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk

Wholegrain breakfast cereals are a good source of fibre, which can make you feel fuller for longer. Choose a breakfast cereal that has been fortified with vitamins and minerals.

4. Boiled egg with wholemeal toast and low-fat spread

Eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy balanced diet. They are a good source of protein, minerals and vitamins A, D and riboflavin. Wholemeal bread contains B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre and a wide range of minerals. White bread also contains a range of vitamins and minerals, but it has less fibre than wholegrain, wholemeal or brown bread.

5. Grilled mushrooms and tomatoes on a wholegrain bagel

Grilling mushrooms and tomatoes is a quick and healthier way to cook. Mushrooms and tomatoes count towards one of your 5 a Day. Wholegrain bagels contain B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre and a wide range of minerals.