Does eating breakfast help you lose weight?
Experts say: Yes.
"There is no better way to get your metabolism moving than eating a healthy breakfast," says
Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D. She explains that food actually increases your metabolic rate, and
skipping breakfast can make your body think it's going to be starved — sending it into "conserve"
mode and slowing your metabolism down.
Research shows that people who consume breakfast regularly are at healthier body weights. Why?
Not only will your metabolism speed up, but eating breakfast helps with appetite control. "If you
skip breakfast, you tend to feel hungrier throughout the day," says Farrell. "And once you get too
hungry, you tend to choose less-healthy meal options."
How many meals a day should you eat to lose weight?
Experts say: Three to six meals per day.
James Rouse, N.D. advocates eating five small meals a day and is adamant that you should not skip
one. "This five meal ideal will keep your metabolism burning brightly, and your brain will enjoy a
steady source of fuel," he says.
On the other hand Ayurveda expert John Douillard, D.C., Ph.D., recommends eating only three meals
a day, without snacking, in order to encourage your body to burn more fat. "Between meals, your
body burns fat, which is your stable, non-emergency fuel," he says. "If you snack then, there is no
need for your body to burn its stored fat."
Farrell's take: Again, it's the calories that count. Some people find that eating five to six smaller
meals spread out over the course of the day is the best way to keep hunger at bay, while others find
eating so frequently to be too challenging. Eating three larger healthy meals, without snacking in-
between, is often easier for those with hectic schedules. Ideally, says Farrell, you should aim to eat
breakfast, lunch and dinner with two small snacks in between. But, it's really a matter of what works
best for you given your metabolism and lifestyle.
My diets don't succeed because I can't give up sweets. Can I have low-calorie sweets?
Experts say: Yes, but you have to read food labels to find them.
Look for items with less than 150 calories per serving and do not have a lot of added sugar or
sodium. Be sure to check the serving size so you don't eat too much. Reach for things that will satisfy
your sweet tooth and provide you with some nutrients too such as fresh fruit and yogurt.
Low-calorie sweets include angel food cake, fresh fruit, sugar-free, pudding made with fat-free milk,
and frozen fruit juice bars.
One serving of each of these items contains about 150 calories and 0 to 1 gram of saturated fat.
Can I skip meals to save calories?
Experts say: No, Skipping meals usually doesn't help you eat fewer calories.
When you skip a meal, you're more likely to get hungry and overeat. It's better to spread your eating
evenly through the day and eat smaller meals. In the long run, you'll probably eat fewer calories with
three small meals per day than with one or two large ones.
If you have diabetes, it's especially important to eat regular meals and snacks. Skipping meals and
then overeating will make your blood sugar problems worse.
Does extra walking help that much with weight control?
Experts say: Yes, Taking extra steps each day can have a cumulative calorie-burning effect, says
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that healthy adults who were car-
happy gained up to 15 pounds more over 15 years than those who walk more often to get around.
So park your car a bit farther away than you need to; take the stairs instead of the elevator. To
motivate yourself to walk more, invest in a pedometer and aim for at least 10,000 steps daily. That's
two and half miles of walking, which means you'll burn about 250 extra calories every day.
How can I get enough nutrients without consuming too many calories?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages you to choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods
and beverages to help achieve recommended nutrient intakes. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole
grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods can help you get the nutrients you need
without excess calories. Avoid excess calories by limiting consumption of foods high in added sugars
and solid fats, and alcoholic beverages; these provide calories but are poor sources of essential
nutrients. And, because calorie intake must be balanced with physical activity to control weight, stay
How can I burn off my stored body fat?
We all need some body fat, but if stored fat is excessive it may increase risk of diet-related diseases
such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. This is particularly true if excess fat is in the
A body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or higher is an indication that your weight may be unhealthy. And
a waist circumference of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women indicates excessive
abdominal fat if BMI is 25 or higher. The best strategy for losing excess weight and stored body fat
involves calorie reduction, increased physical activity and take healthy diet.
How many calories do I need to burn to lose a pound of weight?
You need to burn off 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. This translates into a
reduction of 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound in a week, or 1000 calories per day to lose 2
pounds in a week. (1-2 pounds per week is generally considered to be a safe rate of weight loss.) This
can be achieved by eating fewer calories or using up more through physical activity. A combination
of both is best.