June 8, 2011
When the diet expert told me, "Start eating," she totally had my attention.
Unfortunately, her next word was "breakfast."
Breakfast time is the only time I'm not hungry, so why would I want to eat then?
Studies show that fewer Americans are eating when they wake up, and that's a mistake, says Angela Ginn, the Baltimore expert who first told me to start eating something in the morning.
Ginn, a registered dietitian at the University of Maryland, says there's scientific evidence that if you eat breakfast you're less likely to gorge later. She emailed me the "Breakfast and Health" report by the International Food Information Council (ific.org) -- with 153 footnotes.
I'll save you the trouble: "Eating breakfast may help prevent weight gain" (Footnote 41). "Eating breakfast each day may be a smart strategy for maintaining weight loss" (43). "Skipping breakfast may lead to increased risk for obesity" (40).
There is, however, a huge asterisk to all this. "Breakfast" does not mean eggs slathered in hollandaise sauce with bacon. Even grab-and-go items that sound kind of healthy often aren't. The cranberry orange scone (fruit, right?) at Starbucks has 460 calories and 17 grams of fat. On both counts, that's really a lot.
The report advises whole-grain cereal, fat-free or low-fat milk, fruit and 100 percent fruit juices (six separate footnotes). That, sadly, is a lot healthier than a buttery croissant (310 calories; 18 grams of fat).
"Just grab a piece of fruit or a yogurt," Ginn says.
I'm peeling a banana right now -- and pretending it's a croissant.
Got a bite-size tip on diet, exercise, well-being? Pass it on to firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter @ellenwarreninfo
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