Healthy Breakfast May Mean Healthier Diet Overall

Breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day — as long as that meal is not a doughnut — a study suggests.

Using data from a national health survey of U.S. adults, researchers found that people who ate lower-calorie foods for breakfast tended to have a higher-quality diet overall.

Furthermore, men who ate a healthy breakfast generally weighed less. Among women, breakfast eaters — regardless of the food involved — tended to weigh less than those who skipped the morning meal.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, give some support to past studies finding that breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight — and that eating a high-quality breakfast, rather than grabbing a pastry, is the key.

Research has shown, for example, that people who eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast have a lower average weight than either those who skip breakfast or those who sit down to a plate of steak and eggs.

What’s “unique” about the current study is that it suggests that breakfast foods low in “energy density” — low in calories for a given amount of food — “appear to predict better food choices for the rest of the day and may help with better management of body weight,” Dr. James Rippe, one of the researchers on the work, said in a written statement.

Fruits, vegetables and high-fiber whole grains, for example, are low in energy density, while confections like Danish pastries and doughnuts have a high energy density.

Read more at Reuters