Monday, August 4, 2008

Breakfast and BMI

You've heard the advice. "It's the most important meal of the day." You know you should eat breakfast, but it's hard to find the time before that 8 a.m. class. It's tempting to drag yourself out the door with only a cup of coffee to sustain you.

The good news for college students is that there's no need to take the time to cook yourself scrambled eggs. In a study of the relationship between type of breakfast consumed and BMI, researchers found those who ate a breakfast mostly consisting of meat, eggs or dairy products had the highest BMIs. Those who skipped breakfast were not far behind. The study participants who actually ate quickly-prepared breakfasts like ready-to-eat cereals and cooked cereals had the lowest BMIs.

The other breakfast categories included breads, quick breads (like pastries), fats and sweets and fruits and vegetables. Eating a breakfast from one of these categories, which largely represented breakfasts "on the go," is better than going without, but the brain does not register grabbing something on the way out the door as a meal. The act of sitting down and savoring your food sends signals to your brain that you've been nourished. A bowl of oatmeal or cereal only takes a few minutes,  but it's a more satiating experience.  This could explain why foods that are commonly eaten on the run, such as candy bars (in the "fats and sweets" group), toast (bread) or a banana (fruits and vegetables group), were associated with higher BMIs than those who sat down to eat cereal.

It will take time to train your body to be hungry in the morning. I know I used to eat shortly before going to bed and never woke up hungry. But if you stop eating a few hours before bed, and consistently eat breakfast for a few weeks, your body will adapt.  


megan said...

Awesome page. I'm so glad I came across this. I have already read many of your entries and they are really helpful. I will be a frequent viewer. Thanks.

Erin said...

Thanks so much for the comment! I really appreciate the feedback. Let me know if there's ever anything you'd like to read about!