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Diet Advice: Breakfast & Weight Control

Breakfast and Weight Loss

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Diet & Weight Control Begin With Breakfast

Eating breakfast regularly is a good diet habit and a common characteristic among those who lose weight and keep it off, according to a recent study on diet and weight control published in Obesity Research.

Diet researchers at the University of Colorado, University of Pittsburgh, and Brown University routinely collect diet data on a group of people comprising the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). In order to be eligible for inclusion in the registry, an individual has to have lost a minimum of 30 pounds (13.6 kg) and maintained the weight loss a minimum of one year.

Diet, Food Intake & Exercise

The NWCR includes information on almost 3000 individuals. On average, these people have lost 71 pounds (32.4 kg) and kept the weight off for over 6 years. Strategies previously identified that contribute to their success are eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, monitoring food intake and body weight, and maintaining high levels of physical activity.

Breakfast - A Regular Diet Habit for Weight Control

As part of routine follow-up about diet and weight control habits, the people in the NWCR were asked, "How many days of the week do you eat breakfast?" Nearly 80% reported eating breakfast 7 days per week and only 4% reported never eating breakfast. Almost 90% said that they ate breakfast on most days of the week (4 or more days). There was no significant difference between breakfast eaters and non-breakfast eaters in the number of calories they consumed during the day.

Breakfast - Calorie Intake vs. Diet Hunger Pangs

In the general dieting public, the percentage of people who skip breakfast is on the rise, from about 14% in 1965 to 25% in 1991. Some people skip breakfast because they feel it will reduce their overall daily calorie intake. Unfortunately, hunger pangs can cause diet problems. However, in this study the daily caloric intakes of the two groups were comparable, meaning that "breakfast skippers" were making up the calories they missed at other points throughout the day.

Good Diet & Weight Loss Strategy

Eating breakfast is obviously a good diet strategy to include in your weight
maintenance efforts. For those in a hurry in the morning, quick diet options include instant oatmeal, a bagel, cold cereal, a piece of fruit, or a carton of yogurt.

Includes excerpts from: Wyatt H, Grunwald G, Mosca C, et al. Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity Research. 2002; 10:78-82.

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