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Regular Eating Habits

As David Ludwig, MD, PhD, in Always Hungry? states, “The science of nutrition seems to be stuck in the Dark Ages. While we’ve made many advances in the past few decades, in practice, very little has changed. We’ve discovered hormones that dramatically affect body weight. We’ve discovered sophisticated psychological theories about eating behavior. Machines can measure calories entering and leaving the body with precision. Yet we struggle to explain the ongoing obesity epidemic and suffer enormously from diet-related diseases”[5].

Dr. Ludwig’s study in 1999 looking at high-glycemic foods and obesity should change everyone’s idea of a healthy breakfast. He fed 12 young boys three different breakfasts of the same calorie level but with different carbohydrate levels. One breakfast was instant oatmeal (called a “whole grain” but a highly processed carbohydrate) versus steel-cut oats and the third breakfast of a vegetable omelet with fruit (no grain products and more protein and fat than the other two breakfasts). Blood glucose levels rose to very high levels from the instant oatmeal, a little less from the steel-cut oats and were low from the omelet and fruit breakfast [6].

In addition to the blood glucose response, Dr. Ludwig’s research showed elevated adrenaline from the instant oatmeal breakfast, which caused hypoglycemic signs in the boys. The individuals who ate the instant oatmeal ended up eating significantly more at lunch when allowed to eat as much as they desired [6].

Similar studies [7-10] have shown the need for low-glycemic meals starting with breakfast to control appetite and cravings throughout the day. Limiting highly processed carbohydrates, especially at breakfast, is the best way to control hunger throughout the day.

Chowdhury et al. from the United Kingdom also emphasized the importance of breakfast in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [11]. Their study concluded that obese adults who ate a daily breakfast had greater physical activity during the morning whereas morning fasting resulted in dietary compensation later in the day. Insulin sensitivity increased with breakfast relative to fasting.

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