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National Cereal Day

Controlling body weight is just the start.

1) Maintain Muscle After a night of sleep, your body is in breakdown mode, especially when it comes to muscle proteins. It's key to refresh your muscle cells with amino acids—the building blocks of protein. Aim for 20 to 25 grams of high-quality protein along with a dose of 50 to 100 grams of carbs to replenish the fuel your muscles need.

2) Control Weight Many studies have shown that folks who eat breakfast maintain a healthier body weight and have less body fat than those who skip a morning meal. Research also shows that establishing a routine of eating breakfast can help you make wiser choices and curb calorie intake later in the day. The National Weight Control Registry, which has tracked successful “losers” for more than 20 years, notes that about 80 percent of folks who have lost weight and kept it off for years routinely eat breakfast.

3) Power Your Brain Circulating carbohydrates (blood sugar) are critical fuel for your brain. Studies have shown that for both kids and adults, operating on no breakfast shortchanges thinking power and can affect math skills, reading comprehension, and memory. Studies with children also show that breakfast eaters tend to behave better at school and have more conducive social skills. (Any adult who has had to deal with a “hangry” coworker can probably attest that the same is true for grown-ups!)

4) Improve Your Diet Breakfast eaters tend to have a better overall diet than breakfast skippers, and a greater intake of an array of essential nutrients, like protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron. Even opting for a basic bowl of cold cereal (topped with milk of one sort or another) and fruit results in improved intakes of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.

5) Reduce Disease Risk People who eat breakfast tend to have lower cholesterol levels, which translates to a reduced risk for heart disease. For example, those who choose cereal (particularly oatmeal and other oat-based options) take in more soluble fiber, which may lower harmful LDL levels. Even morning egg eaters have been shown to have cholesterol levels that are just as healthy as those of folks who skip eggs (or breakfast altogether). And eating a meal first thing in the a.m. also helps regulate your blood sugar levels, which may help explain why some evidence shows that breakfast eaters have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

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