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The Sumo Diet: Big Boys Skip Breakfast

I like to eat, and I like to talk menu. In 9 years of teaching, I’ve had about 1300 students, and somehow dietary habits worm their way into conversations about metaphors, themes, and thesis statements. The majority of them don’t eat a regular breakfast, and only ONE of those 1300 has ever spoken or written anything enthusiastic about his early morning meal.

When I hear about how my adolescent charges are starving themselves through breakfast in hopes of leaning out, I give’em my sumo diet speech, usually while savoring peanut butter oatmeal or boiled eggs.   I read somewhere a few years ago that sumo wrestlers put on their impressive poundage by skipping breakfast (to slow down their metabolism) and then gorging on large midday and evening meals.

As skeptical as I am, I should have double-checked the veracity of the sumo-diet before adding it to the thriving middle school rumor mill. Well I’m getting around to it now: check out these weighty findings on the SUMO DIET.

The importance of breakfast is documented fairly extensively, with the benefits ranging from increased energy, more mental clarity, and overall improved nutrition. Yet so many people seem to think that a morning fast will kick-start an amazing physical transformation. I guess that’s true, if you want to look like this guy:

Consider these findings: According to analysis of The National Weight Control Registry’s information on how successful dieters maintain weight loss, most get their munch-on in the morning:

“Among their other healthy behaviors, 78 percent of the people registered eat breakfast every day,” says Susan Kraus, MS, RD, registered dietitian at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.Compare that to 4% who didn’t eat breakfast regularly.

A 2008 study in Pediatrics showed a correlation between lower Body Mass Index and adolescents who eat breakfast. In other words kids who ate breakfast were less likely to be obese.

But “Sumo wrestlers don’t eat until noon,” says sumo legend Konishiki.

The big boys wake up and start training, and don’t eat until at least three hours later.  I’ve known a lot of young ladies who have something in common with Mr. Konishiki. By the way, his nickname is “Meat Bomb.”

Sure, it’s true that sumo wrestlers consume an insane amount of calories  at each of their two large meals. And yes they take a nap after their midday feast in order to promote storing more calories. And yes, they drink lots of beer with their meals. But do you really want to adopt any aspect of a nutritional regime used by a guy known as Meat Bomb?

So young ladies, if you want to look like an elite athlete sumo beast, by all means skip breakfast, slow down your metabolism, and watch your body cling to those calories like flies on poop. Guys, if you want guns like Konishiki, you know what to do. The rest of you would do well to help yourself  to the omelets  and oatmeal.

Photo Credit: #1   #2

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