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Granola: A Really Sweet Dessert!

Granola started out as an unsweetened breakfast alternative.

Are you part of the majority of Americans who believe a mixture of oats, sugar, vanilla flavor, and maybe a few nuts and raisins is a healthy food? If so,  think again! Most commercial granolas tend to have enough sugar that they rival an ordinary slice of chocolate cake or a cup of ice cream. Read a fascinating history of granola on the New York Times website.

PositiveTip: Make your own granola, but beware of putting too much sugar, honey, maple syrup and other sweeteners in it. 

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Does Skipping Breakfast Make You Fatter?

Methodological limitations question the breakfast/healthy weight link.

Numerous studies have found links between eating breakfast and maintaining a healthy weight or skipping it and becoming overweight. But association is not causation. A U.K. study found breakfast seems to be a proxy for other factors like conscientious healthy eating and vigorous exercise. A very large study concluded the breakfast consumption theory was not consistently associated with differences in BMI or overweight--and the authors are consultants to Kellogg's!

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Why Breakfast?

Eating breakfast is very important for good performance in kids and adults!

Many, many people skip breakfast. Yet it is really the most important meal of the day. Scientists from many fields readily agree that breakfast is vital to learning, memory and feelings of well-being. Researchers examined the impact of breakfast on cognitive performance in elementary school children and the composition of the meal. A wholesome breakfast made a positive difference in learning and memory retention.

PositiveTip: Make a wholesome, healthy breakfast the cornerstone of your nutritional day!

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Breakfast Habits May Predict Risk of Cardiovascular Disorders

Youth who eat a poor breakfast are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome in adulthood.

A new study from Sweden adds more evidence to the importance of a healthy breakfast. Researchers surveyed 889 adolescents's breakfast habits and then checked their health 27 years later. They found that youth who missed breakfast or ate a nutritionally deficient breakfast were 68% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than students who ate a hearty, healthy breakfast.

PositiveTip: Eat a healthy breakfast every day and you may prevent cardiovascular health risks later.

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How to Stay Full Till Lunchtime

Oatmeal for breakfast will keep you feeling full longer.

Nutrition researchers gave 48 people two breakfast options. Both had 360 calories, including 110 calories from 1.5 cups of skim milk. One option was Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal, the other was General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios. Those who ate the oatmeal reported feeling less hungry over the next four hours. Researchers think the fibre that makes oatmeal gooey (beta-glucan) may be the reason.

Positive Tip: Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day and including oatmeal can make it one of the most satisfying.

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Big Breakfast Helps a Smaller Waistline

A big breakfast can help you lose weight and reduce obesity risk factors.

Mother was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! In a study of 93 obese women, Israeli researchers found that women who had breakfast as their biggest meal lost more weight and experienced less metabolic syndrome risk factors than women who had supper as their biggest meal. They also had less cravings for snacking.

Positive Tip: Start your day with a full, healthy breakfast and have progressively smaller meals throughout the day.

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Health Risks for Breakfast Skippers

Skipping breakfast and snacking late at night not healthful.

A study of 26,902 men who were free of cardiovascular disease in 1992 revealed both skipping breakfast and eating late in the evening increased cardiovascular risk. Those who skipped breakfast had 27% greater risk, and those who ate late at night had 55% higher risk. These findings fell just shy of statistical significance after adjusting for confounders, suggesting these habits may act through pathways associated with traditional risk factors.

PositiveTip: Your grandmother may have been right: don't skip breakfast and avoid eating late at night.

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High School Habits Build Stronger Bones

Eating breakfast and daily exercise builds strong bones in young men.

Japanese researchers examined the bone mineral density of the spine and hip in almost 400 high school males over a ten year period. After adjusting for the participants' age and weight, the researchers found that consuming breakfast and exercising for at least 10 hours per week was associated with peak bone mass.

PositiveTip: Healthy habits formed during high school years can affect bone strength years later.

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Breakfast Consumption Reduces Heart Risks

Breakfast reduces cardiovascular risk and obesity.

Recent research into the effects of breakfast on cardiovascular risk in Italians shows that individuals who eat breakfast have lower CVD risk, enjoy better physical health, and have nearly 40% lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Eating breakfast lowered the risk of having a higher BMI, abdominal obesity, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and C-reactive protein, all cardiovascular risk factors.

PositiveTip:  Eating a good breakfast can significantly reduce multiple CVD risk factors.


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Dessert for Breakfast?

Are your kids eating camouflaged cookies for breakfast? Look again!

It is sad that the top selling children's breakfast cereals are still loaded with sugar. In fact, one cup of the most popular contain more sugar than a Twinkie! According to the Environmental Working Group, less than a quarter of these cereals even meet the proposed federal recommendations. In addition to sugar, these cereals are high in sodium and contain artificial flavors and colors.

PositiveTip: Parents: read the ingredient lists and food labels, do the simple math, and only place wholesome, healthy cereals on your table.