Friday, November 30, 2012

Skip Breakfast and Pay For it Later (with Calories!)

Do you think that by skipping breakfast you can “save” your calories for that fancy dinner or holiday party you’re going to tonight? Think again! While some people do succeed at not overeating later, most people find that they are extremely hungry once they get to a party, and will have a tendency toward the least healthy dishes served. 

Everyone has heard that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day” and there are countless studies showing that people who eat breakfast have lower body weights and kids who eat breakfast perform better in school. Through my own experience working with clients, I have found that those who don’t eat a healthy breakfast tend to have problems with binge eating or nighttime snacking. 

A recent study presented at the Neuroscience 2012 Conference did indeed find that when people skip breakfast, they are more likely to seek out calorie-dense foods and overeat later in the day compared to when they eat breakfast.The researchers did brain scans on 21 normal weight people and found that the part of the brain involved in food appeal became activated when subjects were shown high calorie foods, but not low calorie foods, on days they weren’t fed breakfast. Subjects also consumed larger lunches on days they were not fed breakfast. The take-home message from this study was that eating breakfast takes the edge of your appetite, so that you are less likely to be tempted by high calorie foods, and will end up eating fewer calories later in the day.

I know during the holiday party season people are tempted to fast throughout the day and “save” their calories for later. This study suggests, and most health experts would advise against that mentality: you will probably end up making healthier choices at the parties if you do eat a nice breakfast and don’t starve yourself early-on. If you fast throughout the day, chances are that eggnog, artichoke dip, and cookies are going to look even more delicious, and you will probably end up consuming more calories than if you had a simple, healthy, breakfast. It only takes a mere 15 minutes out of your 24 hour day to make and eat a healthy breakfast, and it can potentially save you the hassle (and health consequences of gaining weight and needing to lose it ;-)

Reference: Society for Neuroscience, news release, Oct. 16, 2012

No comments: