Health Watch -- Breakfast on a Diet

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

To lose weight, you may need to add a meal to your daily routine.

People who want to lose weight often skip breakfast, thinking it will save them calories. But nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that people who try to lose weight by skipping breakfast may not be doing themselves any favors.

Research has shown that people who eat breakfast regularly tend to maintain their weight. They're also more likely to meet all their nutritional needs. Lona Sandon, a clinical nutritionist at UT Southwestern, says breakfast gets your metabolism going for the day. That makes your body more ready to burn calories.

The important thing is to eat a nutritious breakfast that gives your body a good start without loading you down with fat and calories. Breakfast also doesn't have to be time-consuming. One example of a good, quick and healthy breakfast is a bowl of cereal with skim milk, nuts and fruit.

Cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron and calcium. Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. There's even been research showing that several servings a day of low-fat calcium foods may help people lose weight. Nuts provide a variety of nutrients, including protein, magnesium and fiber, and they're also a good source of beneficial fatty acids that help you maintain good cholesterol levels. At least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day are recommended to help prevent disease, so fruit at breakfast gives you a good start on that.