Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day (all of your meals are important), but there's good evidence that eating in the a.m. can help you lose weight.
When you have breakfast, you increases your "postprandial energy expenditure," aka the amount of calories you use to digest and metabolize the food you eat. A November 2018 paper in Advances in Nutrition found that you burn an extra 40 to 200 calories just by eating breakfast. And if you've lost weight, eating breakfast may keep you from regaining it, per a June 2016 British Journal of Nutrition study.
But what you eat for breakfast matters, too. Breakfast in the U.S. tends to be heavy on carbs and light on protein, per a January 2014 Journal of Nutrition analysis. But a stack of pancakes slathered in syrup and butter isn't going to help you lose weight.
Eggs with toast, or a meal with protein and some carbohydrates, leads to greater satiety, reduced hunger and reduced intake at lunch and dinner compared to carb-heavy breakfasts like cereal and baked goods, according to a September 2012 European Journal of Nutrition study.
This is where avocado toast comes in — a meal perfectly poised to quell any appetite with its balance of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. Let's deconstruct our favorite dish to help us understand the benefits of avocado toast for weight loss.
Why Avocados Are Great for Weight Loss
Avocados are unique because they're a high-fiber fruit that's also rich in healthy fats. A serving of avocado (one-third of the fruit) has 107 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5.5 grams of carbohydrates and 4.5 grams of fiber, according to the USDA. What makes avocados so healthy is that about 85 percent of their fat is the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated type.
Plus, the combination of fat and fiber is a double-win for taming hunger. Indeed, adding avocado to breakfast resulted in greater hunger suppression and more satisfaction than a low-fat, high-carb meal in an April 2019 Nutrients study.
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How to Make Avocado Toast for Weight Loss
1. Choose Your Toast Wisely
Refined grains, like those found in white bread, have been stripped of their fiber, but dietary fiber can help with weight loss because it keeps you feeling fuller longer, per the Mayo Clinic. This is why you want to focus on whole-grain products instead.
In fact, a February 2012 study in The Journal of Nutrition found that when on a calorie-restricted diet, women lost more weight and body fat when consuming whole-grain products versus refined grains.
When shopping for the base of your avocado toast, choose wisely. Read the ingredients list on the bread and look for "whole wheat" or "whole grain" listed as the first ingredient. Avoid options labeled just "wheat" or "multigrain," as these are an indication of refined grains.
2. The Protein Factor: Add an Egg or Two
Protein is key when you're losing weight for two reasons: It helps your body retain muscle mass (which is good for your metabolism), and the body burns more calories to process protein than the other macronutrients. The protein in eggs also helps you feel fuller longer than the same amount of calories from carbs or fats, per an August 2012 paper in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Our breakfast meals tend to have just a third of the protein (13 grams) we eat at dinner (38 grams). This isn't an optimal weight-loss strategy, though, because consuming a moderate amount of protein at each meal is most effective at promoting muscle growth compared to eating the majority of our protein later in the day, according to a January 2014 paper in The Journal of Nutrition.
A slice of avocado toast made with a piece of whole-wheat bread and half of an avocado has 188 calories, 11 grams of fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat), 21 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.
If you add two poached eggs, the total changes to 331 calories, 20 grams of fat (5 grams of saturated fat), 21 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein, per the USDA.
3. Cook Your Eggs in a Healthy Way
The best way to cook your eggs when making avocado toast is to poach or hard-boil them. Why? These methods don't require adding any fat like oil or butter — you only need hot water. There's no need to add more fat to a meal with an already healthy dose of fat.
For instance, if you added two fried eggs instead of poached eggs to the same slice of whole-wheat bread with a third of an avocado, you'd add about 40 more calories and 4 grams of fat.
4. Consider Other Protein-Rich Add-Ons
Avocado toast can be a blank canvas for a variety of protein embellishments other than poached or hard-boiled eggs. While eggs are delicious, there are many other, cook-free options for boosting the protein content, such as smoked salmon, leftover chicken or turkey or garbanzo beans.
Try These Avocado Toast Recipes
- Advances in Nutrition: "A Review of the Evidence Surrounding the Effects of Breakfast Consumption on Mechanisms of Weight Management"
- British Journal of Nutrition: "Breakfast Consumption and Weight-loss Maintenance: Results from the MedWeight Study"
- Journal of Nutrition: "Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults"
- European Journal of Nutrition: "Variation in the Effects of Three Different breakfast Meals on Subjective Satiety and Subsequent Intake of Energy at Lunch and Evening Meal"
- United States Department of Agriculture: "Avocados"
- Nutrients: "Using the Avocado to Test the Satiety Effects of a Fat-Fiber Combination in Place of Carbohydrate Energy in a Breakfast Meal in Overweight and Obese Men and Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- Journal of Nutrition: "Whole Grain Compared with Refined Wheat Decreases the Percentage of Body Fat Following a 12-Week, Energy-Restricted Dietary Intervention in Postmenopausal Women"
- British Journal of Nutrition: "Dietary Protein – Its Role in Satiety, Energetics, Weight Loss and Health"
- United States Department of Agriculture: "Recipe Nutrition Calculator"