If you really want to get the day off to a good start and optimise your chances of losing weight in the next few weeks, check out these 3 best breakfasts for weight loss. Not only does it help keep us satisfied for hours, but it may also play a role in jumpstarting our metabolism.
“The body uses a lot of energy stores for growth and repair through the night,” explains dietitian Sarah Elder. “Eating a balanced breakfast helps to up our energy, as well as protein and calcium used throughout the night.”
But breakfast has been found to affect more than just weight. Skipping breakfast has been associated with a 27 per cent increased risk of heart disease, a 21 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes in men, and a 20 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
What Does Research Tell Us?
In one US study that analysed the health data of 50,000 people over seven years, researchers found that those who made breakfast the largest meal of the day were more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who ate a large lunch or dinner. The researchers argued that breakfast helps increase satiety, reduces daily calorie intake, improves the quality of our diet – since breakfast foods are often higher in fibre and nutrients – and improves insulin sensitivity at subsequent meals, which can be a risk for diabetes.
According to research published in a 2013 issue of the medical journal Obesity, women who ate a big morning meal not only lost more weight and abdominal fat after 12 weeks than those whose largest meal was dinner, but they also had lower blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as lower levels of hunger hormones such as leptin.
Breakfast is also associated with improved brain function, including concentration and language. A review of 54 studies found that eating breakfast can improve memory, though the effects on other brain functions were inconclusive. However, one of the researchers involved, Mary Beth Spitznagel, says there is “reasonable” evidence that breakfast does improve concentration – it’s simply a case that more research is needed.
3 Best Breakfasts for Weight Loss
- An egg omelette (one egg and two egg whites, plus veggies of your choosing) topped with two thin slices of avocado. Or a homemade egg and cheese tortilla.
- A small bowl of plain Greek yogurt topped with a cup of fresh berries, a sprinkle of toasted almonds (simply dry-fry for a few minutes on a frying pan) and a tablespoon of chia seeds.
- Half a cup of porridge (measure once cooked), made with half water/half skimmed milk and topped with a sprinkle of goji berries (or a quarter cup of blueberries/raspberries) and a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. Or, if you’re short for time (and want to save your carb for later), try one of our protein porridges, protein cereals or high protein bread.
Why do these Breakfasts Rock?
They rock because they are full of protein, fibre and healthy fats, whilst also being very specific on the type of carb included. Protein should be the first thing to think about because your body uses more energy to digest protein than other types of food — this is called the thermic effect of food — so it increases your metabolism. A high-protein breakfast also helps to increase muscle mass, according to a December 2017 study in The Journal of Nutrition.
We know that the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, as muscle burns more calories than fat. Last but not least, we know that protein helps keep you full for longer (because it helps keeps your blood sugar even), so you’re less likely to make a poor decision later on. Read more about how protein keeps you satisfied for longer here.
Healthy fats, such as plant-based oils, avocados and nuts leave you feeling satisfied due to their ability to stimulate a hormone that makes you feel full, called leptin. In fact, according to an April 2017 review of 129 studies published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, people who regularly consume avocados, for example, have less belly fat.
Finally, the right type of carbs are included in our list. Refined carbs, found in processed breakfast foods like bagels, sugary cereals and white bread, create a surge in insulin that promotes fat storage while slowing down your metabolic rate. Instead, focusing on carbs that are rich in fibre, such as porridge, means that these will take longer for your body to digest, which means you won’t be looking for something to eat just an hour later, as you would most certainly do with a sugary cereal (and probably something sweet too!).
As a sign-off, these 3 best breakfasts for weight loss are so easy to prepare. No excuses!