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CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Merits of Eating a Good Breakfast

Aired March 7, 2003 - 08:41   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: It's time to check in with Dr. Gupta, who's going to talk about the merits of eating a good breakfast.
So after all these years of complaining to our moms, yes, yes, yes, yes, they're right.

Are you there?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.

ZAHN: There you are!

GUPTA: The most important meal of the day as everyone knows, everyone has been hearing that from years from our mothers, everybody, but now, there are some numbers to sort of back some of that up, some data out of the American Heart Association Epidemiological Conference, really looked at just how effective is breakfast at reducing some of the things we talk so much about. Obesity being one of them. Insulin resistance syndrome another one. That's something linked to diabetes.

Look at the numbers here -- 35-50 percent reduction in risk for daily breakfast eaters versus noneaters. Again, that's where obesity and insulin resistance syndrome. They actually broke down this study into white men, white women, black men, black women. They found that white men and white women, as well as black men appeared to have a significant benefit from eating breakfast daily for reasons they couldn't fully explain, although they're going to investigate it a little further. Black women did not seem to get as much of the benefit.

They also looked at eating patterns among adults, sort of interesting to see what people actually eat on a daily basis for breakfast, if they don't eat all. Twenty-two percent of people, bread and bagels, 21 percent cold or hot cereals, 15 percent eggs, 15 percent pastries, 6 percent just drink fruit juice, and 17 percent have nothing at all.

One person I know in New York has a hamburger every day for breakfast, isn't that right, Paula?

ZAHN: Not every day. It's a protein rotation. Maybe twice a week, with grilled onions. It used to drive the gang completely nuts. They've gotten used to the smell by now. Is that okay to do the burger round?

GUPTA: The burger round, that wasn't on the list, Paula. There was a list of the good and bad breakfast sort of things, and interestingly, looking at the 35-50 percent number, what breakfast items were most likely to bring those numbers down, they actually did look at that. The best breakfast to eat was actually whole grain cereals. That would be a cereal that actually has whole grain as listed as the first item. That would bring down your numbers the best.

Good breakfast sort of thing, pancakes and waffles. They're not going to elevate your obesity and insulin resistance, as long as you eat in moderation, they may bring those numbers down. Just neutral refined grain cereals, getting bad now, eggs, and the worst food actually, Paula, was bacon. That probably is one of the food that does lead to some of the obesity and insulin resistant syndrome that we see.

ZAHN: Oh, great, that was part of my rotation this morning. I just want you to know what I do with the burger, I don't do it with the bun, so I think that takes some of the calories away, exactly.

GUPTA: You're following the Atkins' Diet.

ZAHN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

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