Sunday, April 18, 2010


We have all read about the importance of eating breakfast and that people who don’t eat breakfast can have a harder time dealing with weight control.  They have a greater risk of gaining weight.  When you eat does matter in terms of controlling your weight.  People who eat breakfast tend to eat fewer calories later on in the day.  There is the saying that goes “eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess and supper like a commoner”.   

I recently read an article in the Globe and Mail (April 7, 2010) that has reported findings on some research work done that has found starting your day with a high fat breakfast and ending off by eating a lighter supper can counter weight gain and decrease the incidence of metabolic syndrome.   Metabolic syndrome is when a person has the body shape of an apple (large waist circumference) plus two of the following - high levels of the bad fats in your blood, low blood levels of the good cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated levels of fasting blood glucose.  With this condition, you have increased risks of a heart attack and developing Type 2 diabetes. 

The research was done on mice so the results have to translate to humans.  But much good research does start off in mice so I don’t discount the results.  What the researchers found was that eating a high carbohydrate breakfast or a high fat meal at supper caused an increase in weight gain and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome.   The researchers have hypothesized is that the first meal you eat at the start of the day programs your metabolism for the rest of the day.  Turning on fat metabolism at the start of the day helps the body burn different kinds of food more efficiently later on in the day.   A carbo rich breakfast such as cereal and toast could impair our ability to burn fat later on in the day, but a higher fat breakfast would enable our metabolism to be more effective.   This thinking is a bit opposite to how most of us eat.  We tend to eat a high carbo breakfast that is low in fat and during the course of the day we increase our fat and caloric intake with each meal.  We eat breakfast like a commoner, lunch like a princess and supper like a queen. 

What kinds of foods should you consider that would increase the fat content of your breakfast meal and help with weight gain?  You would need to include cheese, nuts, seeds, peanut or other nut butter, an egg that includes the yolk or smoked fish.   For breakfast I do include a protein source that has some fat.  For example, scrambled egg whites with melted cheddar, a scrambled whole egg and egg whites with some melted cheese, a smoothie that includes flax seed, melted cheese with tomato on toast, oatmeal with melted cheddar cheese mixed in (learned that one from my dad) and oatmeal with chopped walnuts.

An easy way to think about dividing your meals up so that you don’t eat a light breakfast and a heavy caloric supper is to divide your calories up for the day.   To do this you have to know initially the caloric value of the food you are eating and that is not hard to do, as there are many Internet sites that provide caloric values along with fat, fiber, carbohydrate and protein content.  If you map out some sample meals, this would give you an idea of your caloric intake and what changes you should be considering.   If you follow the weight watcher’s program, dividing your points up for each meal would give you guidelines for trying to consume more of your points for breakfast and lunch and not consuming more points at supper versus lunch.   I am sure you all have ideas or thoughts on this blog topic and comments are welcome!

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