Tag Archives: breakfast

Credit: Pixabay.

Don’t skip breakfast if you want to prevent heart disease

Credit: Pixabay.

Credit: Pixabay.

Sometimes a coffee on the go is all we get to consume in a particular morning — and that can cause all sorts of problems in the long-run. Studies show that breakfast jump-starts the metabolism helping you burn more calories throughout the day. In other words, eating this morning meal actually helps you lose weight, not gain it. Now, a new study underscores the importance of eating breakfast every day, finding that people who skipped breakfast had a significantly higher risk of death from heart disease.

Shuang Rong and colleagues at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology in China and the University of Iowa examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study spanned a period between 1988 and 1994 with an average follow-up of 18 years, involving more than 6,550 American participants, aged 40 to 75 years.

At the study’s onset, the participants had no prior record of cardiovascular disease or cancer. They were simply asked how often they eat breakfast, to which they could answer “every day”, “some days”, “rarely”, and “never”. Among them, 5.1% said they never ate breakfast, 10.9% did so rarely, 25% occasionally, and 59% ate breakfast every morning.

The researchers found that participants who never ate breakfast had an 87% higher risk of cardiovascular disease-specific mortality than those who ate it every day. What’s more, skipping breakfast was also associated with changes in appetite and decreased satiety, elevated blood pressure, and harmful changes in lipid levels.

We should note that the findings are correlative, and did not establish causation. People who skip breakfast generally have other unhealthy lifestyle habits which each contribute to the risk of premature death. The reason why having breakfast each day may stave off heart disease may have to do with weight control. Our blood sugar control is best early in the day. When we eat dinner late, that’s when we’re most vulnerable because our blood sugar is worst. According to research from the University of Surrey and University of Aberdeen, eating late impairs blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Their preliminary results suggest that a bigger breakfast is beneficial for weight control.

Nevertheless, the significant association identified by this new study suggest that deciding to eat breakfast might be one of the most impactful lifestyle changes that a person can do in order to improve their health.

Scientific reference: “Association of Skipping Breakfast With Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality,” Shuang Rong, Linda G. Snetselaar, Guifeng Xu, et al., Journal of the American College of Cardiology, VOL. 73, NO. 16, 2019, DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.01.065.

Want to lose body fat? Eat a later breakfast and an earlier dinner, new study suggests

Even modest changes to the timing of your first and last meal of the day can reduce body fat, a new pilot study suggests — but it may only work with intermittent fasting.

Image credits: Alexandra Gerea / ZME Science.

If you try to google information about when you should eat breakfast and dinner, you’ll probably find a million different ideas, many of them contradicting each other. The truth is, while science has figured out some things about breakfast and dinner, there’s just a lot of independent aspects and subjective variability that it’s hard to pin down specifics. But a new study could take us one step closer to figuring things out.

During a 10-week study on ‘time-restricted feeding’ (a form of intermittent fasting), researchers led by Dr. Jonathan Johnston from the University of Surrey wanted to see how changing meal times affects dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. So they split participants into two groups: those who were eating as before (the control group) and those who were required to delay their breakfast by 10 minutes, and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier.

Unlike other studies, participants could eat anything they would normally eat — no restrictions were applied other than the time of the meal.

While all participants lost some body fat, participants who had their meal times changed lost two times more body fat than the control group. People also noticed that they were eating less, either due to a reduced appetite or a cutback in snacking (particularly in the evenings). However, the study comes with a few significant limitations.

For starters, only 13 participants completed the study — hardly a conclusive number. Also, this study only established a correlation, it’s still not clear if the reduction in body fat is caused by shifting the meal times or if it’s something else completely — and to make matters even more complicated, it’s hard to disentangle the effect of intermittent fasting from the time shift.

But things are certainly promising.

This study is an intriguing proof of concept and could help design bigger, more conclusive studies in the near future. Lead author Dr. Johnston comments:

“Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies. Reduction in body fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health.However, as we have seen with these participants, fasting diets are difficult to follow and may not always be compatible with family and social life. We therefore need to make sure they are flexible and conducive to real life, as the potential benefits of such diets are clear to see.“

“We are now going to use these preliminary findings to design larger, more comprehensive studies of time-restricted feeding.”

The study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Science.

Good quality breakfast linked to better performance in school

Cardiff University public health experts have discovered a powerful link between a pupil’s breakfast quality and their performance at school. The study – the largest to date looking at how nutrition influences school performance — recorded the breakfast habits of 5000 pupils aged 9 through 11, and their results in the Key Stage 2 Teacher Assessments 6-18 months later. The pupils who ate breakfast, and had better quality food at breakfast, achieved higher academic outcomes that the ones attending classes on an empty stomach.

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“While breakfast consumption has been consistently associated with general health outcomes and acute measures of concentration and cognitive function, evidence regarding links to concrete educational outcomes has until now been unclear,” said Hannah Littlecott, lead author of the paper.

“This study therefore offers the strongest evidence yet of links between aspects of what pupils eat and how well they do at school, which has significant implications for education and public health policy – pertinent in light of rumours that free school meals may be scrapped following the November spending review.”

The pupils were asked to remember all the food and drinks they consumed over a 24 hour period, noting what they had and the specific time of the meals throughout the day as well as what they ate in the morning of the reporting.

The data shows that beside the quality and number of healthy items consumed for breakfast, other dietary habits — such as the ratio of sweets to fruits and vegetables each pupil had daily, for example — also had a positive effect on educational performance. Eating unhealthy items like sweets and crisps for breakfast, which was reported by 1 in 5 children, had no positive impact on educational attainment.

“For schools, dedicating time and resource towards improving child health can be seen as an unwelcome diversion from their core business of educating pupils, in part due to pressures that place the focus on solely driving up educational attainment. But this resistance to delivery of health improvement interventions overlooks the clear synergy between health and education. Clearly, embedding health improvements into the core business of the school might also deliver educational improvements as well,” Hannah concluded

Professor of Sociology and Social Policy Chris Bonell, from the University College London Institute of Education, welcomed the study’s findings.

“This study adds to a growing body of international evidence indicating that investing resources in effective interventions to improve young people’s health is also likely to improve their educational performance. This further emphasises the need for schools to focus on the health and education of their pupils as complementary, rather than as competing priorities. Many schools throughout the UK now offer their pupils a breakfast. Ensuring that those young people most in need benefit from these schemes may represent an important mechanism for boosting the educational performance of young people throughout the UK”.

Dr Graham Moore, who also co-authored the report, added:

“Most primary schools in Wales are now able to offer a free school breakfast, funded by Welsh Government. Our earlier papers from the trial of this scheme showed that it was effective in improving the quality of children’s breakfasts, although there is less clear evidence of its role in reducing breakfast skipping.”

“Linking our data to real world educational performance data has allowed us to provide robust evidence of a link between eating breakfast and doing well at school. There is therefore good reason to believe that where schools are able to find ways of encouraging those young people who don’t eat breakfast at home to eat a school breakfast, they will reap significant educational benefits.”

Eggs !!

Study: Eat Eggs at Breakfast to Avoid Evening Snacking

Eggs !!

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that a breakfast rich in protein can help to prevent unhealthy snacking in the evening.

Lead researcher Heather Leidy said that protein in the morning significantly improves appetite control throughout the day and particularly in the evening when many snack on high fat or sugary foods. This study is one of the first to assess how breakfast affects both appetite and evening snacking in young people who usually skip breakfast.

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Three Scientific Study Groups

During the study overweight women were split into three groups; no breakfast, a breakfast of eggs and lean beef or a typical breakfast of ‘ready to eat’ cereal. Each meal delivered 350 calories and the same amount of dietary fat, fibre and sugar.

Participant blood samples were taken throughout the day and each woman completed a series of questionnaires. Each participant also underwent a functional MRI just before dinner to assess brain signals related to food motivation and reward driven eating behaviour.

The study showed that a breakfast of eggs and lean beef had a significant impact on satiety throughout the day as well as reducing brain activity responsible for food cravings. The result of which led to reduced evening consumption of high fat and high sugar snacks.

Leidy said:

“These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.”

While it may be difficult initially to switch to a high protein breakfast, Leidy suggests trying plain greek yoghurt, cottage cheese or a handful of nuts as good alternatives to reaching the recommended 35 grams of protein.

This study builds on a previous 2011 paper published in the journal Obesity which found that a protein rich breakfast can help to control food cravings during the day.

A high protein breakfast will also help to maximise the muscle building potential early morning training sessions according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Peanut Butter & Honey

6 Ideas for a Protein Packed Breakfast

  • Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich – 10 grams of protein
  • Whole Wheat Waffle with Maple Yogurt – 13 grams of protein
  • Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal – 21 grams of protein
  • Honey Nut Parfait – 16 grams of protein
  • Veggie Fritatta – 21 grams of protein
  • Good old fashioned Bacon and Egg Sandwich – 30 grams of protein