Eating a healthy breakfast to lose weight

healthy breakfast

Start the day as you mean to go on

When your mother told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, she knew this was true even though she likely didn't know why. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is even more crucial if you are trying to lose weight. Eating a healthy breakfast reduces the cravings for unhealthy snacks, keeps your energy and blood sugar levels steady and more importantly it kickstarts your metabolism for the day.

When you start your morning with a balanced meal, you will actually be more likely to consume fewer overall calories that day. That's because you are eliminating two of the reasons that might make you snack – being hungry and cravings caused by low blood sugar. By eating a nutritious breakfast that includes complex carbohydrates and a good protein source, your blood sugar levels will be maintained on a steady basis throughout the morning. You won't feel hunger pangs that drive you to grab the first food you see (often a high calorie, high fat junk food item). The complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and continue to provide energy for several hours.

Eat breakfast to burn more calories

Without breakfast, your metabolism will not kick in. Your metabolism slows naturally when you go more than a few hours without eating. An empty digestive tract tells your body that you are starving and your metabolism automatically slows to conserve energy. That means that it will burn the fewest possible calories to get by on. It also means that the few calories being burned by just breathing and being awake will not be fat calories. This is because your fat is stored energy for the body. When your body is in what it sees as survival mode, it will not burn the stored fat until other tissues have been damaged.

Your metabolism doesn't even begin to kick in until you eat for the first time each day. By skipping breakfast, you won't begin to really burn very many calories until whatever time you find yourself eating. However, by starting off with a good breakfast within an hour of rising, you will wake your metabolism up and burn more calories for the entire day. Part of that is due to something known as diet-induced thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the scientific term for heat production in biological organisms.

Eat more to lose more

Diet-induced thermogenesis describes the burning of calories by the body during all the aspects of digesting food. Calories are burned by the act of eating and by your body's digesting of the food. Your body burns even more calories while it absorbs, metabolizes and stores the nutrients derived from the food. This is one of the reasons that most nutritionists will tell you to eat six small meals throughout the day rather than three larger ones. The body will almost constantly be in a state of diet-induced thermogenesis.

Now you can understand why it is essential to start each day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast in order to be more successful with your weight loss plan. It will kick your metabolism into gear, maintain your energy levels and make it easier to stick to your diet. Don't forget to thank your mother for her sage advice!

Healthy breakfast suggestions:

  • Muesli with semi or skimmed milk with a glass of fruit juice (not from concentrate)
    or
  • Poached or scrambled eggs on toast (ideally wholemeal or granary) with a fresh piece of fruit
    or
  • Fruit salad with muesli and natural yoghhurt

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