FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 07, 2008
Gulp 'n go light breakfast may backfire with weight gain
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Here's a new bit of diet research with a twist that may seem unlikely: Skipping breakfast or eating a light one can wind up making you heavier. That's right - a study shows that overweight women who ate half of their daily calories first thing in the morning lost more weight in the long term than those who started with a small, low-carbohydrate breakfast.
A big breakfast helps you not to get hungry during the day and eat foods that are high in fat and sugar, such as candy, cookies and other fattening snacks. Nutrition experts say a morning meal packed with lean protein such as ham or turkey and carbohydrates from toast or rolls helps cut cravings for sweet or starchy foods, and boosts our metabolism (energy level) to burn calories.
Study participants who ate just fruit or cereal after awakening reversed their initial progress toward a slimmer shape. "After a short period of weight loss, there is a quick return to obesity," notes a Virginia professor who recently presented the study of 96 ultra-heavy women at a San Francisco medical conference.
Study results: After four months, women who ate small breakfasts and those consuming larger ones lost about the same amount of weight on average -- 28 pounds for the small-breakfast group and 23 pounds for the big-breakfast group. But after eight months, small-breakfast eaters had regained 18 pounds and the others trimmed down an additional 16 pounds.
Researcher says: "Telling [obese people] to eat less and exercise more does not take into account feelings of carb cravings and hunger. We have to change our approach." -- Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, clinical professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and new study's main author
Nutritionist says: "A healthy breakfast primes the metabolism so that you start burning fat immediately, instead of in the afternoon." -- Susie Burrell, Australian dietitian
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