According to Science Daily, the number one reason diets fail is because dieters underestimate the amount of calories they consume. In my opinion, the number one reason diets fail is because dieters want to eat things that most diets don’t permit. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to lose weight that don’t involve giving up your favourite foods. In this post we’re going to take a look at breakfast.
First, let’s focus on when you eat breakfast. Out of habit (or what might be perceived as necessity), many of us eat breakfast soon after waking.
I propose an alternative approach based upon intuition: eat breakfast when your hunger demands it. Not many of us jump out of bed with our stomach rumbling, and if you do experience hunger, it can often be sated by a glass of water or your morning brew of choice.
Logic dictates that the later you eat breakfast, the more sated you will be later into the day, which means that you are likelier to eat fewer calories throughout the course of the day. (In fact, skipping breakfast altogether is a viable option, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Now, let’s consider what you eat for breakfast. The clear winner is protein. In an article on WebMD about hunger-curbing foods, Purdue University nutrition professor Wayne Campbell, Ph.D. had the following to say about the satiety benefits of protein:
You are most likely to feel fuller after eating protein than other nutrients, including fiber, and one of the theories behind why higher-protein diets work well with weight loss is because it helps you not [to] feel hungry.
That statement was on the back of two studies from Purdue in which it was argued that you are likely to feel less hungry after eating a protein-rich breakfast when compared to an equivalent meal made up of carbohydrates.
I’m sure we can all think of a protein-rich breakfast meal that we would love to eat. Now you can do so without guilt, safe in the knowledge that it can help you to lose weight. When I do eat breakfast (which is pretty rare these days), my meal of choice is grilled bacon and poached eggs.
Speaking of eggs, in a study presented at the 2007 Experimental Biology meeting, researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center compared weight loss between two groups of dieters. The first group ate bagels for breakfast; the second group ate eggs. Researcher Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, Ph.D. concluded the following:
Compared to the bagel eaters, overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks, as part of a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced waist circumference by 83% [and] reported higher energy levels.
When people eat [sic] eggs, rich in protein, at breakfast, they felt more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day, compared to those who ate a primarily carbohydrate meal like a bagel.
The moral of the story is this: a high protein breakfast helps to keep you full and, by extension, can help you to lose weight. Couple that with delaying your first meal of the day, and your chances of weight loss will be given a nice boost.