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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How does skipping breakfast affect my weight?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

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    Lisa Renn

    Dietitian

    Lisa is an APD with 12 years experience, specialising in helping people identify and change habits that impact negatively on their health. Inspiring change, Lisa ... View Profile

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
    We know that people who eat breakfast are more likely to achieve the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals compared with those who skip breakfast. 
    One reason that skipping breakfast can affect weight is that if you miss breakfast it's highly likely you will become hungry around 10 or 11 o'clock and then be grabbing for some easy to reach foods like muffins,pies,chocolate, biscuits etc. These foods tend to be higher in fat, sugar and therefore calories which of course lead to weight gain.
    Another reason that skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain is the effect that skipping meals has on your metabolism. If you don't “break the fast” then it means you have not eaten since the night before, this could be no food for up to 16hours.
    In order to conserve your body weight, in this environment of not enough energy coming in, your body automatically slows down it's engine (metabolism) and reduces the energy it uses. In turn, any food you do eat is stored as fat for the next time that you don't fuel your body. So you end up with a body that burns less energy and stores more energy as fat = weight gain.

    All in all  skipping breakfast is a really bad idea if you want to maintain a healthy weight.

    **Choose a great high fibre breakfast cereal, porridge or grainy bread, team it with fruit and/or yoghurt, make time to sit down and enjoy it and  prepare your body for the day ahead!**

    An Accredited Practising Dietitian can help with some great breakfast ideas on the run.
    Good Luck and Enjoy your brekkie!

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  • Jane O'Shea

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am an Accredited Nutritionist and Accredited Practising Dietitian. I am also a licensee for the “Am I Hungry?” Mindful Eating Program, “Am I Hungry” ... View Profile

    Absolutely!  Enjoying a healthy breakfast is one of the best things you can do for yourself every day to help manage your weight.  Research shows that skipping the traditional breakfast, people are more likely to reach for a high glycaemic index food for that instant energy fix - and ultimately more calories are eaten.  

    If you feel that you “don't have time for breakfast” perhaps a bit of planning ahead is needed.  Make sure you have a supply of natural muesli/fruit/yoghurt or wholegrain bread/peanut butter on hand.  Knowing what you are going to eat, having the ingredients on hand and getting into a routine of breakfast eating will go a long way to making sure you get your day off to a great start!



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    At figureate, accredited practising dietitians Zoe Nicholson and Marlene Gojanovic will help you get off the dieting merry-go-round and show you how to change your ... View Profile

    To add to the first two great responses, taking the time to eat breakfast means you're more likely to think about what you'll eat for the rest of the day. By eating breakfast, you are more likely to remember to take some healthy snacks to work and you may even make your lunch! 

    Eating breakast tends to have a snowball effect, where even if you don't take all your snacks and lunch to work, you're more likely to make a healthier food choice mid-morning which then means you're more likely to make a better food choice at lunch and so on…

    There is also something called the thermic effect of food (TEF) and what Lisa was talking about with metabolism. The TEF is greatest at breakast meaning you'll burn more calories over the day.

    Choose something you'll enjoy (or even look forward to eating) and that's practical on a daily basis. It's also fine to eat the same breakfast every day. For me it's wholemeal spelt toast with butter & vegemite (+ fresh coffee) and on going to bed, I look forward to when I wake and have my breaky!

  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been ... View Profile

    Breakfast can impact weight loss that may vary from person to person but as mentioned above the name says it all…it breaks the fast. When your body hasn’t received fuel (food) for long periods of time (such as sleep) it send signals to the brain that you ‘starving’ due to a survival mechanism related back to our ancestors which can reduce your metabolic rate, fat burning and increase hunger. This can ultimately lead to poor food choices.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease ... View Profile

    I think that the clinical health professionals have all offered great thoughts.

    For me breakfast is a glass of no-added-sugar orange juice followed by a couple of slices of toasted whole-grain bread with (depending) a couple of boiled eggs or the toast spread with lots of avocado and some cheese.

    This is not health advice but it sets me up for the day :-).

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