Want to ward off weight gain? Eat your breakfast

Skipping breakfast is a predictor of future weight gain and increases your chances of becoming obese, according to a new study presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Diego, California this week.

Researchers looked at 347 healthy men and women over a period of 12 years. All of these people had a normal body mass index (BMI) when they started the study and were consistent in their eating habits for at least two years.

At the end of 12 years, they found that people who skipped breakfast more than three times a week had a larger waist circumference, which means they’d gained that dangerous belly fat. This was most common in older men.

The most overall weight gain, about 10 pounds, was found in those who never ate breakfast. The obesity rate was 25 percent higher among those who skipped breakfast than in those who ate it frequently.

Those that ate breakfast regularly had an average weight gain over the study period of only three pounds.

Eating in the morning jump starts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day, experts say.

Furthermore, non-breakfast eaters were found to have a high post-lunch insulin spike and increased amounts of inflammatory markers circulating in their system. Chronic inflammation has been known to lead to many other diseases, especially obesity. Fluctuating insulin levels lead to diabetes and weight gain as well.

Breakfast eaters, in general, tend to make better food choices than non-breakfast eaters and are more active. So it’s possible that eating breakfast is a “marker” for other more healthy behaviors.

The American Heart Association has found that eating a well-balanced breakfast is linked to lower risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease — but don’t skip the exercise, either!