How Breakfast Can Help You Lose Weight and Remain Lightweight

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Generally speaking, a breakfast that contains fruits, grains, vegetables and nuts alongside proteins is the best as it leaves you feeling healthy and full throughout the day.

Protein plays a major role in weight loss. If you want to quickly lose weight, then increase the proportion of protein to your diet1.

In addition to controlling your appetite,protein discourages you from overeating. Therefore, always ensure that your breakfast is full of proteins if you want to control your weight.

Today’s world, however, is full of people who are used to skipping breakfast. And while it may sound counterintuitive, this is a major contributor to weight gain.

And that’s not all:

Taking breakfast is crucial as it helps improve one’s mental performance. Your brain needs fuel to run its tasks. Not eating breakfast and expecting to be productive just does not work.

Why Proteins Are Important in Weight Loss

When metabolizing proteins, the human body burns more proteins than it does when metabolizing other types of food such as fats or carbohydrates. Additionally, proteins help you feel full for a longer time.

There’s a lot of proof to support the above paragraph. Here are some:

One study2 concluded that increasing the amount of dietary protein by 25% lowered late-night snacks by 50%. Surprisingly, doing so also reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%.

Not yet convinced? Here is another proof:

In a study3 with exclusively female participants, the researchers divided them in half and had them take weight loss diets for 70 days. Participants in both groups consumed an equal amount of calories. However, the amount of dietary protein between the groups varied.

The result?

Even though the women in both groups lost weight, those in the group that took extra proteins lost half a kilogram more than those who took fewer proteins. They also lost a huge amount of body fat.

For non-vegans, eggs are an ideal source of nutrients and are packed with proteins. Either have them hard-boiled or scrambled.

Pay close attention to the amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats that you eat during breakfast as this affects what you eat during the rest of the day.

Proteins also help you control future weight gain. Increasing the proportion of protein you eat during breakfast by 18% means that you lose 50% more weight than a person who takes fewer proteins.

Several studies including Kahleova et al.4 have established that taking proteins during breakfast reduces hunger and on average help you eat 135 fewer calories than people who eat fats or carbohydrates.

Researchers have also looked at MRI scans of people’s brains, and their findings are surprising.

Taking a breakfast that is full of proteins suppresses hormones in the brain that signal hunger or raise your appetite. As such, chances that you will overeat or experience cravings are greatly reduced.

Protein reduces the hunger hormone ghrelin while increasing cholecystokinin, which is a hormone that suppresses appetites. 

There is an inverse relationship between dietary protein and belly fat. So, if you increase your protein intake, you will end up reducing the amount of belly fat.

In one study5,  researchers found that when Chinese teenagers ate more egg-based meals than grain-based meals they lost more weight in 3 months than they would have by reducing the amount of food they consume.

Also, as we mentioned earlier, proteins can slightly increase your metabolism, increasing your weight loss rate. 

At the same time, a diet that is full of protein reduces muscle loss, preventing the lower metabolism that is associated with weight loss.

Which Foods Should You Eat for Breakfast to Lose Weight?

For non-vegans, the first and probably easiest option is eggs. 

Eggs are not only nutritious but also contain a lot of protein. Replacing carbohydrate-based breakfast with eggs means that you eat fewer calories and lose more body fat.

You can also incorporate fish, meat, seafood, dairy products and poultry into your breakfast.

For vegans, eggs, fish, meat, poultry and dairy products are simply not an option. Instead, they can take tofu, seitan, edamame, tempeh, chickpea, lentil and beans.

You are probably wondering: Yes, I should eat foods in the above groups. But how should I combine them? Well, I went ahead and compiled a list to give you some ideas.

You can take Greek yogurt with wheat germ, seeds and berries.

Also, you can take stir-fried tofu together with kale and dairy-free cheese (non-vegans)/ beans (vegans).

You could have a hard-boiled egg (non-vegans) or tempeh (vegans) with a smoothie.

A banana shake with almond milk, a scoop of whey protein and some frozen berries could also work.

Scrambled eggs (non-vegans)/chickpea (vegans) with vegetables is also a great option. Just remember to use coconut or olive oil to fry the scrambled eggs.

A fat- or carbohydrate-filled breakfast is unhealthy. You need to go for a protein-rich breakfast as it helps you lose weight.

What You Should Watch Out For When Having Breakfast

Stay as far away as possible from over processed sugars and over processed wheat products.

First, make sure that the proteins you take are between 300 and 400 calories if you want to lose weight. This also helps you maintain your weight, especially when exercising.

If you choose to incorporate some carbohydrates into your diet, make sure that they are between a 45 and 55 grams tops. Do not eat sugary and over processed foods or foods with enriched white flour.

Whenever possible, replace carbohydrates with vegetables, whole grains and fruits.

Make sure that proteins are around 20% of your total caloric breakfast intake. Remember that consuming more than 20 grams of proteins can help you stay satisfied during the day and lose weight.

Also, limit your fat intake during breakfast to a maximum of 15 grams. Non-vegans should avoid saturated fats like bacon and cheese and instead go for monounsaturated fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

Similarly, your daily fiber intake during breakfast should be 25 grams. There is really no maximum limit of fiber that you can take, so long as it does not disturb your belly.

Foods that are packed with fiber include berries, pears, nuts, greens, seeds and whole grains.

The Ideal Time to Take Breakfast

Take breakfast is between 30 minutes and 1 hour of waking up. It is also plausible to split your breakfast in half, where you take a light meal just after waking up.

Some people work out in the morning and would not be comfortable with a full stomach when they go to work out. If so, you should eat fruit before the workout and then afterwards have a meal with more protein.

Conclusion

If you should take anything from this article, remember this: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you eat for breakfast determines what you crave and eat for the rest of the day.

A protein-filled breakfast can help you lose weight. The body burns more calories when metabolizing protein than it does for fats or carbohydrates. Also, proteins leave you feeling full for the rest of the day so that you eat less.

You should also have fats and carbohydrates for breakfast. However, make sure they mainly come from fruits, seeds, berries and that you avoid sugary and over-processed foods.

1 Guth, E. (2014). Healthy weight loss. Jama, 312(9), 974-974.

2 House, B. T., Shearrer, G. E., Miller, S. J., Pasch, K. E., Goran, M. I., & Davis, J. N. (2015). Increased eating frequency linked to decreased obesity and improved metabolic outcomes. International journal of obesity, 39(1), 136.

3 Helms, E. R., Zinn, C., Rowlands, D. S., Naidoo, R., & Cronin, J. (2015). High-protein, low-fat, short-term diet results in less stress and fatigue than moderate-protein, moderate-fat diet during weight loss in male weightlifters: A pilot study. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 25(2), 163-170.

4 Kahleova, H., Belinova, L., Malinska, H., Oliyarnyk, O., Trnovska, J., Skop, V., ... & Hill, M. (2014). Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study. Diabetologia, 57(8), 1552-1560.

5 Leidy, H. J., Gwin, J. A., Roenfeldt, C. A., Zino, A. Z., & Shafer, R. S. (2016). Evaluating the intervention-based evidence surrounding the causal role of breakfast on markers of weight management, with specific focus on breakfast composition and size. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 7(3), 563S-575S.

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