Is a Southeastern Brazilian breakfast effective for weight management?

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / juefraphoto
© Getty Images / juefraphoto
A Southeastern Brazilian breakfast – composed of coffee/tea, milk, cheese, bread, and cold cut meats – is associated with lower weight gain, says a new study.

This is linked to the higher protein and calcium levels in the diet, and the lower fat and sugar levels, report researchers from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, and the Universidade de São Paul.

On the other hand, a Northern Brazilian breakfast that consists of meats, preparations with corn, eggs, tubers/roots/potatoes, dairy products, savory snacks/crackers, fruit juices or soy-based drinks, was positively associated with weight gain, they wrote in Cadernos de Saúde Pública​.

The data also revealed that skipping breakfast, as has become common in many countries, was not associated with BMI in this representative sample of Brazilian adults.

“Despite the large amount of studies focusing on the importance of eating breakfast for our health, little focus has been given to breakfast food patterns. This approach can substantially improve the research in this theme because of the capacity of dietary patterns to account for the quality of items consumed in this meal,” ​they wrote.

Study details

The Brazilian researchers analyzed data from 21,003 adults participants in the Brazilian National Dietary Survey 2008-2009.

The data indicated that 33% of the population skipped breakfast, which is higher than observed in the USA (between 17 and 23%), and Japan (17%).

Three distinct breakfast patterns were discovered:
1. The Brazilian Northern pattern, which included meats, corn, eggs, tubers/roots/potatoes, dairy products, savory snacks/crackers, and fruit juices or soy-based drinks;
2. The Western pattern, which included sandwiches/pizza, baked/deep-fried snacks, fruit juices or soy-based drinks, chocolate/desserts, and cakes/cookies; and
3. The Brazilian Southeastern pattern, composed of cold cut meat, bread, milk, cheese, and coffee/tea.

The Northern pattern was positively associated with BMI, while the Southeastern pattern was inversely associated with it.

“This study suggests the role of the Southeastern Brazilian pattern is inversely associated with obesity and the authors hypothesize that the quality of breakfast is the main reason for this association,” ​concluded the authors.

Source: Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Volume 34, Number 6, doi: 10.1590/0102-311x00111917
“Breakfast patterns and their association with body mass index in Brazilian adults”
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Related topics: R&D