Nutritional Sins Affecting Your Health? (cont.)

Other research shows people who eat breakfast daily may be less likely to succumb to obesity and diabetes.

"You need breakfast to get your brain and body functioning," says Glassman. If you don't feed your body, it will only hold onto the fuel it has stored and will never budge a pound.

People who skip breakfast are also the type of people who tend to go without eating in general, Glassman tells WebMD. They're the same ones who go until 3 p.m. without lunch or tend to forget to eat all day and then feast on a large dinner.

These behaviors can destroy of the metabolism over time. Also, when you eat fewer foods throughout the day, you eat fewer types of foods and may miss out on vital nutrients, says Glassman. Skipping breakfast may result in a lack of an adequate store of vitamins and minerals as well as missing out on certain phytochemicals and antioxidants that help ward off disease.

Avoid the metabolism roller coaster by regularly downing a healthy breakfast. If you can't eat first thing in the morning, wait an hour or two for your stomach to settle, and then try half an English muffin with peanut butter or a container of yogurt.

Fad Dieter

If you once followed the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, or a few other not-so-nutrition-savvy plans, you may have this nutritional blunder in your diet repertoire.

But if you were a fad-diet groupie, have you put your health at risk?

"Fad diets aren't science-based and their goal is only weight loss, not long-term disease prevention or even day-to-day energy," says Sass. You also can feel too tired to exercise and irritable and moody during a fad diet.

Depending on how wacky and lacking in nutrients the fad was, you may have lost lean muscle mass and bone density along with body fat.

The good news: Once you've dumped the fad diet, the short-term side effects like irritability and fatigue fade away. However, lost muscle mass and declining bone density can prove more problematic.

While building lean muscle through weight-bearing exercise is the key, building up bone health can be trickier and take longer to accomplish. Eating a diet rich in calcium and regularly lifting weights is a start.

Talk to your doctor about bone mineral density testing, especially if you have other risk factors for osteoporosis, such as a family history, or if you paid homage to many fad diets in the past.

And never relying on a fad diet to slim down again is the best break your bones will get.

SOURCES: National Institutes of Health. WISE study (Women's Ischema Symptom Evaluation), The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, November 2002. Keri Glassman, MS, RD, KKG Body Fuel, New York City, N.Y. Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, American Dietetic Association, Tampa, Fla. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2003; vol 22: pp 296-302.

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Last Editorial Review: 10/3/2004 7:14:47 PM