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Why Skipping Breakfast is Not Good for Your Health

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  June 26, 2013 10:30 AM

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Photo Source: Nutrition & You
Do you routinely bypass eating breakfast only to have lunch be your first meal of the day?  If so, you may rethink your lack of a morning meal and rise and dine to ward off diabetes and other health concerns.

In a study soon-to-be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers followed over 46,000 women, who were initially free of diabetes, for six years.  At the end of the study, women who consumed breakfast irregularly were found to be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to women who consumed breakfast daily.  Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 1 in 3 adults could develop diabetes by 2050, this could be a wakeup call for the estimated 30 million Americans who skip breakfast on a regular basis.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all breakfasts are created equal.  Consuming eggs and bacon sandwiched between a glazed donut will provide over 350 calories of fat and sugar with a whopping 720 milligrams sodium.   This is not exactly the breakfast of champions, at least not nutrition-conscious champions.

The secret to a healthy breakfast is to include some high-fiber whole grains and fruit (or vegetables), some protein-rich foods, such as milk and yogurt, and some healthy fats such as peanut butter and nuts.  Here’s why:
  • Americans spend over $700 million annually on laxatives (no, it’s not a typo) due to constipation.  Whole grain cereals and whole wheat bread, along with whole fruit or vegetables, will add fiber in the morning to get things moving in your gastrointestinal tract and help keep you regular.
  • Adding some protein and fat at your meals will not only help you feel full sooner and keep your hunger at bay until lunch, but research suggests that eating adequate amounts of protein at each meal can also help you  preserve your lean muscle mass as you age.  Peanut butter and nuts provide both protein and healthy fats.
  • While it is recommended that we consume three servings of low fat or nonfat milk, yogurt or cheese daily, Americans are consuming only about 1.5 servings and are also falling short of their bone-strengthening calcium needs daily.  Dairy is also a good source of protein in the morning.
To help you easily plan a healthy breakfast, here are my Picture Perfect Breakfasts:
   
             

Be well, Joan

Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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