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Weight Control & Breakfast

Weight Control Begins With Breakfast

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

Researchers at the University of Colorado, the University of Pittsburgh, and Brown University routinely collect 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.

Successful Weight Loss “Maintainers”

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 & Weight

As part of routine follow-up, 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

In the general 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. 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.

A Good Weight Loss Strategy

Eating breakfast is obviously a good strategy to include in your weight maintenance efforts. For those in a hurry in the morning, quick options include instant oatmeal, a bagel, cold cereal, a piece of fruit, or a carton of yogurt. If you have a little more time to be creative, check the recipe files of Mayoclinic.com, Foodfit, and Cooking Light for more low-fat breakfast ideas.

SOURCE: 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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