The Connection Between Breakfast, Cravings & Weight Loss

healthy-breakfasts-fit-for-athletesIf you ask anyone what they struggle with when it comes to weight loss, or improving their health through their diet, you can bet cravings is sure to come up as an answer.  Breakfast can help!

We can do great all day long, and then after a stressful day find ourselves caving in to cravings and feeling like we have “blown it” once again.  One simple way to help fend off these cravings is to make sure you are eating breakfast.  But it’s not only eating breakfast that counts, but eating a breakfast that is a complete meal balanced with healthy carbs, adequate protein and fat  .

 According to the “Big Breakfast Study”, power breakfasts kill cravings in times of stress.

Study after study has linked eating breakfast to higher overall nutrient intake, fewer bouts of emotional eating and cravings later in the day, and sustained weight loss for longer periods of time – and yet, 40 percent of people neglect the first meal of the day.

You can have a simple bowl of cereal but imagine waking up to a 600-calorie hungry man’s feast that could actually be better for you!

That’s just what 94 obese, inactive women did for a recent study dubbed the Big Breakfast study. Venezuelan researchers put half the women on a very low carb Atkins-style diet (17 grams/day) and compared their weight loss to women of similar girth who tried the new Big Breakfast diet with balanced carb and protein distribution.

On the very low carb diet, the women had a small 290-calorie breakfast containing no more than seven grams of carbs from bread, fruit, cereal and milk. Their typical breakfast would be a cup of milk, one egg, three slices of bacon, and two teaspoons of butter.

Big Breakfast dieters averaged 610 calories for breakfast and usually had a cup of milk, a turkey sandwich with cheese and mayonnaise, one ounce of chocolate candy (yes, chocolate for breakfast!), and a protein shake.

This hefty meal could be eaten in stages so long as it was done by 9 a.m. Lunch and dinner were progressively lighter at 395 and 235 calories, respectively.

This inversed pyramid of energy intake with most of the calories at the start of the day during breakfast seems to be the secret to sustained energy and weight loss. In a few months, both groups dropped similar amounts of weight but the low carb group gained most of it back.
  • The women who enjoyed their lean protein, carbs and candy for breakfast continued to lose weight to the tune of nearly 17 more pounds!
  • Hunger, which exacerbates stress, and mid-day cravings for carbs, which are a sign of emotional stress, were not a problem because of breakfast.
  • Eating a big breakfast also meant more nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals because more fruit and wholegrain carbs were allowed.

Now, I’m not recommending you start eating chocolate cake for breakfast. We can do much better than that.  The point is to use this opportunity to fill up on nutrients that will provide you with energy for your workouts, which means better results, and give you a great start to your day so you don’t feel hungry within an hour and grab the first thing you can.

OK, so you don’t need any more reasons to eat breakfast but mornings are crazy busy and rushed.  I get that.  But, putting a little effort into making your breakfast will be worth it.  Try these quick tips for a grab-and-go big breakfast: mix and match.

  • Pack up leftover dinner the night before. There’s nothing wrong with meatloaf in the morning.
  • Make a blender full of protein shake.  Add some frozen banana or berries and you’re good to go for the week with protein power in your coffee cup every morning.
  • Have pre-sliced lean meats, veggies and wholegrain GF bread stocked. Always have these on hand for quick sandwich assembly.
  • Make yourself breakfast the night before.  Try this Overnight Soaked Chia Seed Satmeal Recipe.
  • The old standby:  Peanut butter & banana on whole grain bread.
  • Pre cook and peel some hard boiled eggs.  These make a great add on to any breakfast or can be mashed up and used as a sandwich.
  • Make some muffins for the week and freeze.  Try this Easy Banana Blueberry Muffin Recipe.


Keep protein high enough to thwart hunger (aim for 20-30 grams), keep carbs low enough to keep insulin in check (but not too low) and by all means don’t skip breakfast. Oh, and don’t forget to exercise!


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