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Breakfast Like A King

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Kate Save presents some interesting facts about breakfast and its benefits to ensure that you start to give your breakfast the priority that it deserves.


It’s no fallacy that breakfast is the most important meal, and this is not just because it fuels you up for the day, but studies have found that it may also be important for preventing weight gain.


Breakfast like a king and dinner like a pauper

Greater weight loss and waist circumference reduction has been found in one study, which compared an “isocaloric” weight loss diet where participants either included a high caloric intake during breakfast (diet 1: 700kcal breakfast, 500kcal lunch, 200kcal dinner) or a high caloric intake at dinner (diet 2: 200kcal breakfast, 500kcal lunch, 700kcal diner) for 12 weeks9.

Our recommendation is that eating a higher caloric intake at breakfast rather than at dinner, is beneficial for weight management and metabolic syndrome.


Breakfast cereal versus eggs 

The good news is that if you like breakfast cereals then studies have shown that people who eat breakfast cereals regularly tend to have a lower BMI and are less likely to be overweight than those who do not eat breakfast cereals regularly1. Although other studies have shown benefits by consuming eggs for breakfast for increased satiety and a lower desire to eat relative to cereal and croissant-based breakfast meals5. It was also found that by consuming an egg at breakfast participants had significantly lower intake of energy when offered a buffet lunch and evening meal later that day5. For those of you who are concerned about cholesterol intake, another study found that by consuming eggs at least five times a week for breakfast, blood lipid levels (cholesterol) were similar between groups not consuming eggs indicating that the additional 400mg/day of dietary cholesterol did not negatively impact blood lipids10.

Our recommendations are that consuming breakfast is beneficial and choice is up to the consumer although perhaps there are benefits to having a slightly higher protein intake for satiety and reducing energy intake later in the day5. 


The effects of breakfast on appetite regulation

One study found that by consuming breakfast, participants had beneficial alterations in the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals that control food intake regulation. Further benefits were also seen by those participants that consumed a higher intake of protein at breakfast, which led to reduced evening snacking. Lastly, analysis of behavioral data suggested that eating breakfast helped reduce dietary fat and minimise impulsive snacking12.

Our recommendation - by consuming breakfast you will have better appetite regulation throughout the day 5. 


Breakfast for weight loss maintenance

It has been reported that regular breakfast eaters (five days per week or more) are able to maintain weight loss better than those who never eat breakfast with one study showing at least 13.6kg (30lb) weight loss was maintained for at least one year 2. Another study has recommended that a high carbohydrate and protein breakfast may prevent weight regain by reducing diet-induced compensatory changes in hunger, cravings and ghrelin suppression6.

Our recommendation - eating breakfast may assist in successful maintenance of weight loss. 


Breakfast before exercise is important for weight loss

When it comes to deciding whether or not to eat breakfast before exercise, authors of one study concluded that when moderate endurance exercise is done to lose body fat, fasting before exercise does not enhance lipid utilisation; rather, physical activity after a light meal is advisable 3.

Our recommendation - have a breakfast that you can tolerate well before exercise.


Breakfast for preventing nutritional deficiencies

In the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) regular breakfast eaters had more adequate diets overall and people who did not eat breakfast cereal were much more likely to have inadequate nutrient intakes, especially of thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium and iron4. It was also shown that regular breakfast eaters were more likely to rate their health as excellent or good than those who skip breakfast which indicates that regular breakfast consumption is associated with better diets for adults overall4.


Our recommendation - eat a well-balanced breakfast of your choice. 


Breakfast may also prevent metabolic conditions

Relative to those with infrequent breakfast consumption (0-3 days/week), participants who reported eating breakfast daily gained 1.9 kg less weight over 18 years and there was a reduced incidence of abdominal obesity, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension7. 

Our recommendation - daily breakfast intake may assist in the prevention of metabolic conditions.              


Can I still have a coffee with breakfast too?

Fortunately for coffee drinkers, there is some good news here as one study has found that a moderate coffee intake can effectively reduce energy intake in the following meal and in the total day compared to lower or no coffee intake in overweight/obese participants8. 

Our recommendation - it is ok to drink coffee in moderation but remember to keep well hydrated throughout the day. 


In Summary 

Hopefully we have been able to successfully prove to your just how important breakfast is and to show you the benefits when it comes to achieving long-term weight loss. The most important things to consider when planning meals is your meal timing and macronutrient composition to counteract possible compensatory mechanisms which encourage weight regain after weight loss6.



By Kate Save, Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist

Peninsula Physical health and Nutrition (PPN), with locations in Mornington, Frankston, Sorrento, Rosebud , Somerville and Langwarrrin. (VIC).





Useful Links and references


1)      Hunty, A., Ashwell, M., ‘Are people who regularly eat breakfast cereals slimmer than those who don’t? A systematic review of the evidence.’ Nutrition Bulletin,  Ashwell Associates Ltd, Hertfordshire, UK,  June 2007, 32(2): 118-28.

2)      Wyatt, H.R., Grunwalk, G.L., Mosca, C.L., Klem, M.L., Wing, R.R., Hill, J.O., ‘Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the National Weight Control Registry’, Obesity Research, North Amercian Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO), University of Colorada Health Sciences Centre, Colorado, 2002, 10 (2): 787-82.

3)      Paoli, A., Marcolin, G., Zonin, F., Neri, M., Sivieri, A., Pacelli, Q., ‘Exercising Fasting or Fed to Enhance Fat Loss? Influence of Food Intake on Respiratory Ratio and Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption After a Bout of Endurance Training,’ International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Feb 2011, 21(1): 48-55.

4)      Williams, P., Breakfast and the diets of Australian Adults: An analysis of data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey’, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Feb 2005, 5(1): 65-80.

5)      Fallaize, R., Wilson, L., Gray, J., Morgan, LM., Griffin, B.A., ‘Variation in the effects of three different breakfast meals on subjective satiety and subsequent meals on subjective satiety and subsequent intake of energy at lunch and evening meal’, European Journal of Nutrition, Heidelberg, Springer Berlin, 2013, 52(4):1353-1359.

6)      Jakubowicz, D., Froy, O., Wainstein, J., Boasz, M.,‘Meal timing and composition influence ghrelin levels, appetite scores and weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults’, STEROIDS, March 2012, 77(4): 323-331.

7)      Odegaard, A.O., Jacobs, D.R., Steffen, L.M., Van Horn, L., Ludwig, D.S., Pereira, M.A., ‘Breakfast Frequency and Development of Metabolic Risk’, Diabetes Care, American Diabetes Association, Oct 2014, 36(10): 3100-3106.

8)      Gaverieli, A., Karfopoulou, E., Kardatou, E., Spyteli, E., Fragppoulou, E., Mantzoros, C.S. Yannakoulia, M., ‘Effects of Different Amounts of Coffee on Dietary Intake and Appetite of Normal-Weight and Overweight/obese Individuals’, Obesity, Jun 2013, 21(6): 1127-1133.

9)      Jakubowicz, D., Barnea, M., Wainstein, J., Froy, O., ‘High Caloric Intake at Breakfast vs. Dinner Differentially Influence Weight Loss of Overweight and Obese Women’, Obesity, Dec 2013, 21(12): 2504-2513.

10)    Ruedam J,M., Khosla, P., ‘Impact of Breakfasts (with or without eggs) on Body Weight Regularion and Blood Lipids in University Students over a 14 week Semester’, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Wayne State Universitym Detroit.

11)     Leidy, H.J., Orinau, L.C., Douglas, S.M., Hoertel, H.A., ‘Beneficial Effects of a Higher-Protein breakfast on the Appetitie, Hormonal, and Neural Signals Controlling Energy Intake Regulation in Overweight/Obese, ‘breakfast-skipping’, late-adolescent girls’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Bethesda, 97 (4): 677-688.

12)    The Role of Breakfast in the Treatment of Obesity; A Randomized Clinical Trial’, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville.  




Breakfast Like A King
Kate Save:  Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist, Diabetes Educator and Personal Trainer
Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist