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The Ideal "Big Breakfast" for Healthy, Meal Weight Loss

Updated on July 31, 2012

Meal weight loss has gained much attention in recent years because research has shown that the key to effective, long term weight loss isn’t in how little you eat, but in what and when you eat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for weight management because food energy is most efficiently used by the body earlier in the day. Skipping breakfast leads to an unhealthy metabolism and eventual weight gain. During sleep, the metabolism slows and blood glucose levels become low which are the reasons for a lack of energy in the morning.

The body uses glucose to fuel the body and brain. When breakfast is skipped and there are no calories available from food, the body responds by lowering the metabolism to conserve energy, which results in less calories being burned. Missing breakfast also puts the body into a stressed state. The body responds by increasing cortisol production to counteract stress which has the added side effect of increased fat storage attached to it. This combination of low glucose and high cortisol leads to irresistible cravings and hunger pangs later in the day.

In order to supply the energy requirements for fat burning and all physical and mental activities during the day, we need a healthy breakfast containing essential nutrients. These nutrients include enzymes necessary for fat breakdown and weight loss. If you are finding you have no time for breakfast, setting your alarm twenty minutes earlier in the morning will solve the problem. Many people who skip breakfast end up consuming excessive amounts of caffeine as an alternative energy source. Unfortunately, consumming excessive amounts of caffeine makes the body even more susceptible to weight gain.

A health breakfast energizes the metabolism and gives you fat burning energy essential for weight loss. It also gives you a sense of fulness which will eliminate unhealthy food cravings and the desire to binge later in the day. Research has shown that by adding breakfast daily you will consume an average of one hundred less calories daily, which alone will result in a fat loss of ten pounds per year. The most effective meal weight loss plan includes a big breakfast followed by four more small meals evenly spaced by time.

Other benefits that come from eating a healthy breakfast are increased alertness, mental sharpness and a greater ability to focus throughout the day. In addition, an efficient digestive system is the key to effective weight loss. A nutritious breakfast will cleanse the digestive tract, enabling the body to eliminate weight producing bad fats and toxins from the body.

It may seem hard to believe that a healthy big breakfast is more effective for weight loss than a small one. However, a study conducted with overweight individuals showed this to be the case. In an eight month study it was found that individuals who ate a large breakfast lost an average of forty pounds, while those who ate a small breakfast lost an average of only nine pounds.

By the end of the eighth month those who ate the small breakfasts had gained some of the weight back while the big breakfast eaters only lost and continued to lose weight. The small breakfast eaters reported having struggles with hunger and food cravings while the big breakfast eaters found they were less hungry with fewer food cravings.

The best breakfast will include whole grains such as oats or barley, high in fiber and B vitamins to sustain energy and fresh fruit and vegetables for valuable vitamins, enzymes, fiber and antioxidants. Whole foods such as these have a healthier effect on blood sugar levels than foods that contain white flour such as bagels, bread and many boxed cereals, which cause rapid blood sugar changes leading to weight gain. These foods contain simple sugars and carbohydrates which will quickly increase energy levels but will not last long.

Eating whole foods containing complex carbohydrates release energy more slowly, resulting in a gradual energy increase that will last throughout the day. They are ideal for digestion, absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxins which are necessary for effective weight loss. Do you always need to eat a big breakfast? It’s a a good idea most of the time but replacing breakfast with a green drink or smoothy that contain all the vital nutrients, healthy fats, protein and fiber needed to satisfy hunger works well too.


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    • profile image

      Quick Weight Loss 8 years ago

      That's great advice and giving reasons makes it all the more motivating

    • karen78 profile image

      karen78 8 years ago from NY

      exactly what my fitness trainer told me... excellent insights steve!

    • Brodi profile image

      Brodi 8 years ago

      I'm glad to hear someone else believe that a big breakfast, composed of <gasp> "CARBS" is the best way to stoke metabolism and get you through the day! I eat a bowl of oatmeal with a variety of fruit (normally 2-3 full pieces or various berries and an apple) every day. It sustains me through my morning - usually a long, strenuous workout, plus errands, etc., and I am not kidding you when I say I'm not usually hungry until at least 1pm (I eat around 7am). So, great advice!!

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 8 years ago

      This is very good news indeed! I just can't do without breakfast. I get hunger pangs the minute I get to work. :P Now I can eat in the morning without feeling guilty. :)

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I like the explanations of how eating a healthy breakfast works and also the examples of what kind of food to eat. I am going to give it a shot and see if what you say is true for me, that my cravings will decrease when eating a good breakfast in comparison to not eating breakfast at all.

      Good info.

    • Charlotte Anne profile image

      Charlotte Anne 8 years ago from Iowa, USA

      This is a useful hub

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      That's great advice and giving reasons makes it all the more motivating.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comments everyone!

      Ocbill, there are some who say that working out on an empty stomach will result in greater weight loss. Maybe this is true. But what are you losing? It isn't fat because the body holds onto fat when there is a lack of fuel from food. Most likely you are losing muscle mass which isn't healthy or productive. It is also unhealthy to exercise when you haven't eaten for a long period of time because blood sugar levels are low. Doing intense workouts on an empty stomach habitually can result in a hypoglycemic reaction which is extremely scarey. I suggest you at least eat a piece of fresh fruit before your workout in the morning.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      Hey Steve,

      Great Hub again. i agree with all you say here and I already eat oats or granola, fruits, or eggs, juice (no coffee for me though. Go figure, among all these starbuck sheep, well, well)

      I heard and personally experienced greater weight loss by exercising on an empty stomach ( a lite run 1/2 mile, lite weights & 50 sit-ups) after I wake up as I am using the stored fat, then I eat, not a large breakfast but a smaller one due to the exercise and smaller stomach craving. There is more thirst than food desire. Then I have 3 to 4 meals per day. Although,I do better with what I eat andat what time; especially no carbs in the evenings.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image

      Staci-Barbo7 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Steve, this is a Hub with great information.  Too many people equate a 'diet' with starving themselves for at least part of the day.  As you explained, skipping meals really throws the body's natural rhythms and hormones out of balance.  This can sound esoteric, but it concretely spells GAIN (MORE) WEIGHT for the dieter taking this approach. 

      I have always eaten breakfast, and I can tell that it immediately lifts my mood.  I believe eating breakfast, a healthy combination of protein, complex carbs, lots of vegetables, and not skipping meals in general helps me maintain my weight at ~100 lbs. without dieting. (I'm petite - almost 5', so I'm not thin, just proportionate height/weight).   

    • bigcat profile image

      bigcat 8 years ago from The Universe

      Thank you for this wonderful informative hub. Last year I was on a nutrition based chinese medicine seminar in Germany , near Frankfurt. What I have learned at this seminar is exactly that: how and what you can eat, so your body has more energy to spend on your daily activities. I have a lot of good recipes for warm and cold breakfast, with cereals, most of them cooked with fruits or vegetables . It is easier for the body to extract the energy from a cooked meal, than it is from raw food, at least for persons with lack of energy.

      Unfortunately, my motherlanguage is not English, so its more difficult for me to translate them, but I would like to make a hub with some recipes, if I just could find the enregy for that, lol.

      All the best to you,


    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Excellent information ! I have always believed in starting the day with a healthy and nutritious breakfast - thanks for all the useful information :)

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment tdarby!

      Any whole grain cereal such as oatmeal with fresh fruit makes a quick, easy and nutritious meal effective for weight loss. Organic eggs combined with whole grain toast and cold pressed margerine with fresh fruit on the side is another good one.

    • tdarby profile image

      tdarby 8 years ago

      I really like this--can you give me some ideas of what a "sample meal" might be? I am in definite need of making this change and this hub couldn't have come at a better time.