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Lower your cholesterol levels with a big breakfast

Category: General Health

Lower your cholesterol levels with a big breakfast

If your cholesterol tests keep showing high results, it may be time to make a change. Eating breakfast is a well-known healthy habit, but new research showed that the size of your breakfast makes a difference, too. And, believe it or not, bigger is better.

A study led by a Tel Aviv University researcher revealed that people who eat their largest meal at breakfast are more likely to lose weight and have a smaller waist circumference than people who eat a big dinner. In addition to less scale stress, big breakfast eaters also had better levels of insulin, glucose and triglycerides - the main form of fat in the body. These factors mean a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and lower cholesterol levels.

Perhaps the more surprising discovery is that those big breakfasts actually included dessert, implying that weight management is not just what you eat, but also when you eat it. The researchers noted that these findings may pave the way for future obesity treatment and lifestyle factors.

How did they do it?
To come to these conclusions, the team - led by professor Daniela Jakubowicz - recruited 93 women who were struggling with weight management and separated them into two groups. All of the subjects were given a diet that totaled 1,400 calories every day for four months. The first group's calorie intake was scaled toward breakfast, with 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at dinner. The second group ate the opposite - 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner. The foods consumed were largely similar between the groups.

When assessing the subjects, Jakubowicz found that the group that ate the most calories in the morning lost an average of 17.8 pounds each, and their waists had shrunk an average of about 3 inches. In the group that ate a larger dinner, the participants lost 7.4 pounds on average, and shed an average of 1.4 from the waistline. The team also checked the subjects' ghrelin levels - a hormone that regulates hunger - and found that the breakfast group had lower levels than the dinner group. This implied that they were more satisfied throughout the rest of the day, and were less likely to snack later.

Cholesterol testing also revealed that the dinner group had higher levels of triglycerides than the breakfast group, regardless of weight loss.

Part of a complete breakfast
The Huffington Post recently asked a group of nutritionists what they ate for breakfast. The experts' answers varied greatly, but most included whole grains, fruit, berries, eggs and dairy. One way to get enough whole grains is to eat whole-grain oatmeal and pile it with tasty fruits, berries and nuts. To make it part of a bigger breakfast, just shrink the serving size and add other treats.

Many of the health food experts interviewed included a smoothie, which is a great way to get a big serving of fruits. Try blending Greek yogurt, a splash of skim milk, blueberries, raspberries and ice for a sweet drink in the morning. Bananas are another popular addition to smoothies, and go well with chocolate and peanut butter.

Stuffing omelets chock full of spinach, onions, peppers, cheese and mushrooms makes a filling breakfast for those with the time to make it. To lower cholesterol levels even more, take out a few or all of the egg yolks and stick to the whites.

If eating chocolate cake with breakfast seems strange, substitute it with an oatmeal and peanut butter cookie for dessert.

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