Friday, July 10, 2009

Milk, not Juice at Breakfast Assists with Weight Loss

Whenever I think of a 'complete balanced breakfast', flashbacks of Kellogg's cereal commercials from the 90's pop into my mind. Whole grain products paired with low-fat milk, fresh fruit and a tall glass of orange juice are what many of us consider a complete, balanced breakfast that will help us get through our mornings without dragging our feet - at least that's what we've been conditioned to think.
According to a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, some people may want to skip their morning OJ, especially if they're trying to lose weight.

In a new study, researchers were interested in finding out whether there is a difference in weight loss and feelings of fullness when skim milk is substituted for juice at breakfast. Their hunch was based on recent findings that showed that the proteins found in dairy products, namely whey and casein are more satisfying and keep us feeling fuller for longer than a simple carbohydrate-containing beverage such as a glass of pure 'Florida sunshine'.

34 overweight women and men completed two trials spread a week apart where they consumed a breakfast containing the same number of calories, the only difference being that in one version they consumed 600ml of skim milk, and in the other, 600ml of juice. The participants then rated their feelings of fullness and satisfaction with their breakfasts. Four hours later, all participants were given access to a buffet lunch, and their food intake was measured.

Not surprisingly, those participants who consumed the milk instead of the juice actually felt fuller after breakfast and consumed significantly fewer calories (~200 calories less, on average) at lunch, even though all breakfasts were made up of the same number of calories! Multiply the difference by 7 days a week (1400 calories) and that's an additional half-pound of fat per week, or an extra 2 pounds of fat per month!

What this study goes to show is that while weight loss and gain is really a numbers game, the source of the calories has everything to do with feelings of fullness and the subsequent calories consumed in a day. Bottom line: if you want to stay full and stay on track with your diet without over-eating, reach for foods rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre, water and lots of vitamins and minerals and not just empty calories or simple sugars. While this study may be a new one, the bottom line has not changed at all in recent years - Stick to a healthy eating plan and weight loss is pretty much fail-proof.