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Is there a connection between breakfast and weight loss?

Should I eat breakfast or not to help lose weight?

Nashville, Ark. – Do you struggle with your weight? If so, you are not alone. Over 17 million people in America are overweight or obese.

Arkansas ranks as the third most obese state in the United States. A primary contributor to obesity is an increase in unhealthy eating habits, such as skipping breakfast. Weight gain during early adulthood increases the risk of several chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, depression, polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility.

Over the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic decline in Americans eating breakfast.  Younger people (ages 18 to 44 years) are more likely to skip breakfast than middle-aged and older adults. Skipping breakfast leads to eating unhealthy throughout the day.

It has often been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There are many benefits associated with eating a healthy breakfast, such as higher intake of vitamins and minerals, lower body weight, improved concentration at work and school, more strength and endurance and lower cholesterol levels.

Several studies, in both adults and children, show those who eat a healthy breakfast tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. One reason may be that people are less hungry throughout the day. Studies also show that adults who eat ready-to-eat cereals have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) and weigh less than those who do not eat breakfast or those who eat a high fat breakfast.

Why do people skip breakfast?

One theory suggests that people skip breakfast because they think they will save calories throughout the day. This is not so. Breakfast skippers tend to overeat at lunch and dinner and snack throughout the day; thereby consuming more calories. Successful dieters (those who lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off) regularly eat breakfast and follow a healthy diet.

What makes a healthy breakfast?

Breakfasts that have protein and/or whole grains give you the boost needed to stay satisfied until lunchtime. One study showed that adults who ate eggs for breakfast, stayed fuller throughout the day. Another study stated that eating a protein-rich breakfast reduces hunger and decreases calorie intake at lunch.

A study that compared a protein-based breakfast to a carbohydrate-based breakfast found that women who ate protein for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks lost 65 percent more weight and reduced their waist size by 83 percent more than those eating a carbohydrate-based breakfast.

Some ideas to increase the protein in breakfast and have a healthy breakfast include:

  • A veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast
  • A whole-wheat English muffin with low fat cheese, a scrambled egg and a slice of lean ham
  • Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low fat milk
  • Oatmeal with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
  • Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
  • A whole-grain tortilla, a scrambled egg, low fat cheese and salsa

Fact is, breakfast is important and it can help in weight control. If you would like more information regarding healthy eating, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517. I’ll be glad to put you on my mailing list for upcoming programs!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is high in protein and uses whole grains. Make it ahead of time and freeze individual portions for a quick breakfast!

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat or fat-free milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 cups chopped, frozen or leftover cooked vegetables (such as asparagus, peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, etc.)
  • 1 ½ cups lean ham, chopped (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together.

  4. Mix bread, vegetables, ham, and cheese in baking dish. Pour egg mixture over. Allow to soak for 15-20 minutes.

  5. Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes, or until fully cooked.

  6. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

  7. Cut into 12 equal servings.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 139 calories, 5g fat, 12g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 430 mg sodium

Print this Whole Wheat Breakfast Casserole recipe




By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.