Truth: Eating two breakfasts could keep off unwanted pounds

Mar 23, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Image: Valentina G/Getty Images

The hobbits were right (aren't they always?): We should all be eating second breakfast.

Having a second mid-morning meal is good for your health and your waistline — or at the very least, eating two breakfasts is better than eating none, according to a recent study published in Pediatric Obesity.

Researchers followed 600 kids and divided them into three groups: Breakfast eaters (either at home or at school), non-breakfast eaters, and kids who ate breakfast both at home and at school. They found that despite what you might expect, the no-breakfast kiddos were the most likely to gain weight and twice as likely to be overweight or obese. And the hobbit tots, er the two-breakfast kids, gained no more weight than was normal for their age, despite eating more calories earlier in the day.

More: 22 effortless make-ahead breakfasts

While the researchers didn't speculate about the reasons for their findings, I have to say I'm not surprised. I've found that when I eat a low-sugar, high-protein breakfast, I have fewer cravings later in the day and almost no late-night candy binges (something I've struggled with since childhood). On days I skip my morning meal, I feel great — light, even — until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. And then everything goes to hell, if hell is an amusement park filled with junk food and blood-sugar roller coasters.

This certainly isn't the first study to link eating breakfast with a host of benefits, including a healthy BMI. Studies have shown that eating breakfast lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease, increases your cognitive skills and helps you lose weight. Most famously, the data from the National Weight Loss Registry (a group that studies people who've lost more than 30 pounds and have kept it off for more than a year) plainly shows that eating a solid breakfast is one of those things that nearly all successful dieters do.

More: 7 Ways to nail your breakfast every day of the week

While I'm not sure adding a second breakfast would help me — I am not, after all, a growing preteen — I can see how it wouldn't hurt. And for those of us who are prone to skipping their morning meal, this study is one more reminder that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

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