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We've heard it countless times: "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

But which breakfast foods are best when it comes to achieving (and maintaining) a healthy weight? To find out, researchers from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab decided to go straight to the experts: slim people. The researchers built an online "Slim By Design" registry and asked nearly 150 people who do not have weight issues  dubbed the "mindlessly slim" what they eat for breakfast.

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The most common answers were:

  • Fruits and vegetables: 51 percent
  • Dairy: 41 percent
  • Cold cereal/granola: 33 percent
  • Bread: 32 percent
  • Eggs: 31 percent
  • Hot cereal: 29 percent
  • Coffee: 26 percent

While we were kind of surprised by how normal that list seems, the researchers found something else intriguing: Many more of the participants ate eggs than they had expected.

"This is interesting and definitely worth of further investigation," says lead author Anna-Leena Vuorinen. "As we know, a high-protein breakfast is linked to increased day-long satiety and, thus, may contribute to successful weight control."

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No Skipping

One of the most important (yet unsurprising) takeaways from the study, Vuorinen says, was that only 4 percent of the mindlessly slim participants skip breakfast.

"A very high rate of slim people actually eat breakfast instead of skipping, which is consistent with previous research on the importance of breakfast," she says.

It is worth noting that this small pilot study has its limitations. Certain specifics, such as portion size and types of chosen carbs — oatmeal, cold cereal, and bread — were not accounted for. But Vuorinen and team are launching the next phase of the study in the coming weeks and plan to look at food consumption in more detail, she says.

We assumed that it would be safe to say none of the participants ate bagels for breakfast because, well, bagels. But you know what happens when you assume...

"We did not specifically analyze the bagel consumption," Vuorinen says, "but I just checked the data and there were seven members who listed [eating] a bagel."

We stand corrected.

Check out the Cornell Food and Brand Lab's infographic below to learn more about the eating and exercise habits of the mindlessly slim:

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