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BreakfastIt’s so difficult to leave the cozy warmth of bed and so tempting to sleep for an extra 20 minutes when it is cold outside. However, recent research strongly advises against hitting the snooze button in lieu of breakfast.

Several research studies over the years have highlighted the benefits of having a big, healthy breakfast. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who have wholesome breakfasts demonstrate better concentration, problem-solving skills and eye-hand coordination in the classroom and on the playground.

However, the latest research from a study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health has news for adults as well: the study found that eating a big breakfast can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

According to the study, what you eat for breakfast isn’t as important as the timing of the meal. Skipping breakfast increases the ‘fast’, or duration between meals (i.e. dinner and lunch). Over a period of time, this strains the body and can lead to insulin sensitivity which in turn causes diabetes, high blood pressure and eventually heart disease.

Having a hearty breakfast has also shown to aid weight loss. A study conducted over a period of three months found that subjects who ate big breakfasts but a light lunch and dinner lost an average of 17.8 pounds. On the other hand, people who ate the same amount at dinner (without breakfast) lost only an average of 7.3 pounds. Big breakfast eaters also experienced significant reductions in blood levels of insulin, glucose and triglyceride fats. Additionally, people who eat a good breakfast are better able to curb cravings for high fat and calorific foods later in the day.

Further research found that the drop in blood glucose levels and insulin resistance, which is promoted by eating a big breakfast, can also help balance hormones and boost fertility in women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.

So it is time you took heed of the age old advice ‘don’t skip breakfast!’ and start your day the healthy way.

– Samia Babar
The writer is Director, Health Awareness Society.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 10, 2013.