#320 Big Breakfast, Big Results

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Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

Adelle Davis

Big Breakfasts for Big Results

By Joe Wilkes

BreakfastBreakfast. It seems like forever since we've been told it's the most important meal of the day, but a recent study shows that it's actually true and not just Mom having been a nag. Breakfast is a key component of weight management. A study presented at the recent Endocrine Society's annual meeting showed that participants who consumed large breakfasts lost almost five times as much weight as the participants who followed a traditional diet. So what's the big deal about breakfast? And what is a big breakfast anyway? It doesn't seem like the lumberjack special at the local diner would do much to get the pounds off, so what should we be eating?

The study supported the idea that when we wake up in the morning, our bodies want food. You've burned through all the fuel from the previous day, and now your body is ready to burn anything, like muscle, to get a jump-start on the day. And if you skip breakfast, muscle is indeed what your body will burn. Later in the day, your brain is still in starvation mode from breakfast (or lack thereof), so your body will store all the calories you eat as adipose tissue, or fat, to save up for the next day when you try to starve it again. The study also found that serotonin (the chemical responsible for controlling cravings) levels were much higher in the morning, which is why breakfast is the meal so many of us are willing to skip. But if our bodies are left unfed, our serotonin levels drop, and the cravings for sweets begin to rise throughout the day.

BreakfastNow, before you hit McDonald's for their 800-calorie Big Breakfast or, worse, their 1,150-calorie Deluxe Breakfast, or you swing by Denny's for a 740-calorie Grand Slam or 950-calorie All-American Slam with hash browns, keep in mind these were not the breakfasts the study participants consumed. The big-breakfast group had a 610-calorie breakfast as part of a 1,240-calorie day. Breakfasts included milk, lean meat (sorry, no bacon or sausage), cheese, whole grains, a serving of healthy fat, and one ounce of chocolate or candy to defray the sweets cravings. The other group's participants consumed 1,080 calories per day as part of a high-protein, low-carb diet. Both groups were on the diet for 8 months. The high-protein group lost an average of 9 pounds but the big-breakfast group lost an average of 40 pounds. And perhaps not surprisingly, the big-breakfast group complained less about cravings and hunger.

The big-breakfast group's breakfast consisted of 58 grams of carbs, 47 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat. Study reviewers attribute some of the success of the big-breakfast group to the fact that the protein and healthy fats eaten kept the participants full and reduced cravings. They also said that nutritional requirements were well met, that there weren't empty calories consumed, as the breakfasts included lots of whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy unsaturated fats. So, bad news for the lumberjack-special devotees—a big plate of greasy hash browns, bacon, and biscuits with gravy isn't going to get the job done, unless the job is clogging your arteries.


Here are some healthy big-breakfasts, like the ones consumed by the study participants.

Chicken and the Egg

2 eggs, scrambled
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, roasted
1 grapefruit

602 calories, 54 grams carbohydrates, 51 grams protein, 19 grams fat

Low-Fat Breakfast

Instant Oatmeal 1 packet instant oatmeal with 1 scoop protein powder
1 cup blueberries
3 oz. turkey breast
1 hard-boiled egg
1 oz. dark chocolate

633 calories, 66 grams carbohydrates, 48 grams protein, 12 grams fat

Two Egg Sandwiches

2 whole wheat English muffins
2 poached eggs
2 slices low-fat Swiss cheese
2 slices Canadian bacon

599 calories, 58 grams carbohydrates, 62 grams protein, 18 grams fat

Vegetarian Breakfast

Cottage Cheese 1 cup cottage cheese (2% milk fat)
1 cup canned peaches in their own juice
1 slice whole wheat toast
1/2 avocado
2 vegetarian sausage links

630 calories, 61 grams carbohydrates, 48 grams protein, 22 grams fat

Pescetarian Breakfast

1 can light tuna
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (preferably canola or olive oil based)
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 oz. dark chocolate

606 calories, 49 grams carbohydrates, 50 grams protein, 22 grams fat

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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, August 21st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Joe WilkesIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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6 Ways to Avoid Nighttime Snacking

By Steve Edwards

Read a BookOne of the worst times you can eat is at night. Yet, our society forces this upon you with "late-night happy hour" abandon. How many nighttime activities can you think of that don't include at least an offer for food and/or drink? However, this is the last thing your body needs before it shuts down for 8 hours of sleep. Here are some tips to make it easier to adhere to the "3-hours-before-bedtime" rule—that is, the "no-food-3-hours-before-bedtime" rule.

  1. Make a ritual. The easiest way to not eat (or drink) is to get yourself into a pattern that doesn't include eating or drinking. No matter what you decide to try, continue long enough so that it becomes habit. Then, eating and drinking will feel like the wrong thing to do instead of the norm.

  2. StretchStretch out. Stretching at night is beneficial in many ways. Stretching out those muscles that you've used all day long helps you both recover and sleep better. It will also help you not eat, since eating is usually the last thing you feel like doing while stretching. Yoga Booty Ballet® Master Series' Pajama Time is the perfect way to end your day.

  3. Work. If you've eaten at night, why not use up those calories and get some work done before hitting the hay? You can challenge yourself in this way by adding an amount of time that you'll work for each drink or hors d'oeuvre that you give in to.

  4. Work out. This one requires that you learn about yourself because some people can't sleep if they work out at night. I'm not like that, so I'll often replace a night out with a night in the gym. Or, if I've eaten too much, I'll use a light workout to help digest some of those calories before winding down for the evening. Depending on your needs and/or your ability to sleep after working out at night, your workout can be anything from Slim in 6® to Hip Hop Abs® to P90X®.

  5. Read. Better than TV in so many ways, reading not only engages your brain (which burns calories), it makes it hard for you to snack. Getting into a book makes time fly, and before you know it, that "late" dinner will have happened hours ago.

  6.  Herbal TeaLearn to love herbal tea. Its zero calories are the perfect nighttime snack, especially "sleepy" teas, like chamomile. It usually takes a little effort to trick your brain to truly enjoy tea. But once you do, the positive effects of warmed herbs that will ease you into sleep mode can be addicting themselves and turn going to bed into a meditative and scrumptious affair.

And finally, a note about your TV. Let's be honest. Most of us watch a lot of TV. The average American watches over 3 hours per day. And while it's often the case, your television doesn't have to derail your fitness goals. You can use this time to do other—beneficial—stuff, too. Stretching and TV go together like peanut butter and chocolate, with the opposite effect. And since none of us claims to enjoy commercials, making a point of doing something else during these timeouts (dishes, cleaning, laundry, sit-ups, or anything active) can turn a night in front of the boob tube into a productive and healthy evening.

Watching TV While Eating, Washing the Dishes

Related Articles
"7 Myths About Sleep"
"Meditate for Your Heart"
"12 Teas to Brew Up Better Health"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, August 21st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Steve EdwardsIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Test Your Fast Food Breakfast IQ!

By Monica Gomez

If you read Joe's article, you know that eating a big breakfast can actually be healthy for you by helping with weight control. But he also warns that a McDonald's big breakfast isn't exactly going to make the cut for improving your health. If all you make time for is a fast food "big breakfast," what exactly are you getting? Rank the following fast food breakfasts from highest to lowest calories.

  1. IHOP Stuffed French Toast ComboIHOP Stuffed French Toast Combo: 1,476 calories. Yep. That's 1,476 calories consumed, all before lunchtime! Some people consume that many calories in a day. Impressive! Of course, when you look at what this combo contains, you won't be surprised: Cinnamon raisin French toast stuffed with sweet cream cheese filling, topped with cool strawberry or your choice of fruit compote and whipped topping. Served with two eggs, hash browns, two bacon strips, or two pork sausage links. This breakfast packs quite the punch, to your stomach and your fitness goals. I'd skip it. The Stuffed French Toast Combo also contains 76.2 grams of fat, 173.1 grams of carbs, and 29.1 grams of protein.

  2. Jack in the Box Hearty Breakfast Bowl and Orange Sunrise Smoothie (24 oz.): 1,210 calories. Definitely "hearty" in calories, the breakfast bowl contains 780 calories, with 540 of those calories from fat. Total fat content is 60 grams—with 20 saturated fat grams and 7 trans fat grams. Although the bowl is not going to win the sodium challenge over the Deluxe Breakfast, it's still impressive at 1,350 milligrams of sodium—oh, the salty goodness! The bowl also contains 34 grams of carbs (4 grams of dietary fiber and 1 gram of sugar) and 26 grams of protein. While the smoothie contains no fat, you don't want or need to consume a 430-calorie beverage. The smoothie also contains 108 total grams of carbs (with 86, yes, 86 grams of sugar) and 4 grams of protein. Why not opt for a large orange instead? Come on! You can actually go "big" on this fresh fruit and not do any of the damage that this and the other large breakfasts listed will do. One large orange (about 6.5 ounces) has 86 calories, 21.6 grams of carbs (along with 4.4 grams of fiber and 17.2 grams of sugars), 1.7 grams of protein, 73.6 milligrams of calcium, and 333 milligrams of potassium.

  3. McDonald's Deluxe BreakfastMcDonald's Deluxe Breakfast (large-size biscuit; no syrup or margarine): 1,150 calories. Joe is right. You'll consume 1,150 calories (540 calories from fat) if you opt for the Deluxe Breakfast—with the large-size biscuit. Like the IHOP Combo and the Jack in the Box breakfast, you will have consumed over 1,000 calories before noon. Wow! The risk you take when you decide to go through that drive-thru window is costly, even if the price of your breakfast is not. If you go for the conservative Deluxe Breakfast with the regular-size biscuit (at 1,090 calories, 510 calories from fat), you'll save 60 calories. Does that make a difference? Maybe not—definitely not to your waistline if you eat the Deluxe Breakfast often. The Deluxe Breakfast with the large-size biscuit also contains 60 grams of total fat (20 grams of saturated fat), 116 grams of carbs (with 7 grams of fiber and 17 grams of sugar), and 36 grams of protein. At 60 grams of total fat, you consume 93 percent of your recommended daily allowance. The sodium content is also worth mentioning: 2,260 milligrams of sodium. Don't forget that all of these numbers do not include the syrup and margarine.

  4. Burger King Enormous Omelet Sandwich and Minute Maid® Orange Juice (12 oz.): 870 calories. Most of those 870 calories will be coming from the 730-calorie sandwich. The omelet sandwich also has 45 grams of total fat, with 16 saturated fat grams and 1 trans fat gram. It falls a bit short of the Deluxe Breakfast with its 1,940 milligrams of sodium. Other nutritional content includes 44 grams of total carbs, with 2 grams of fiber and 8 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein. Your safest bet is to stick with the juice alone. At 140 calories, it contains 33 grams of carbs (30 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein, and 42 milligrams of vitamin C. I dared not add anything like, say, a large hash brown. It's almost as highly caloric as the sandwich at 620 calories (40 grams of total fat, with 11 saturated and 13 trans, and 1,200 milligrams of sodium). If it helps, you'll only consume 10 more calories if you choose this Burger King breakfast over the Starbucks breakfast.

  5. Starbucks Hot ChocolateStarbucks Venti Hot Chocolate (2% milk, with whip) and a Blueberry Scone: 860 calories. That 2% milk won't really help you much in the way of saving calories. The hot chocolate contains 460 calories (160 calories from fat) and the blueberry scone contains 400 calories (160 calories from fat). If you opt for no whip cream, you're still going to consume 390 calories in drink alone. I know it's very hard to resist this sweet, delicious "breakfast," but you're better off avoiding so much sugar so early in the morning—well, ok, you're better off avoiding so much sugar, period! That venti hot chocolate also contains 18 grams of total fat (10 grams saturated), 64 grams of carbs (with 2 grams of fiber and 54 grams of sugar), and 18 grams of protein. The blueberry scone has 17 grams of total fat (9 grams saturated), 54 grams of carbs (with 2 fiber grams and 17 sugar grams), and 5 grams of protein. If you simply can't resist the hot chocolate, why not try a tall instead of a venti with nonfat milk and no whipped cream? It contains 190 calories (20 calories from fat), 2 grams of total fat (no saturated fat), 37 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber and 31 grams of sugar), and 11 grams of protein.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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All nutritional information taken from the restaurants' online nutrition guides, except for IHOP, which was taken from TheDailyPlate.com.

Yoga Booty Ballet is a registered trademark of Goddess in Training, Inc.


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