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The Importance of Breakfast

Why Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day

The Importance of Breakfast

Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps you focus at work or at school. Those are just a few reasons why it’s the most important meal of the day. But research has found even more reasons for making room for the “most important meal of the day. We’re here to uncover the importance of breakfast and the benefits it provides us with in our day to day lives. Without it you might not be feeling as great as you could be!

Apart from providing us with energy, breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fibre. The body needs these essential nutrients and research shows that if these are missed at breakfast, they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day. Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals so try to include a portion of your daily five at breakfast, whether that be a banana or glass of fruit juice.

Breakfast really is a must for everyone but most significantly for children, whose growing bodies and brains need constant refuelling of essential nutrients. There are many reasons why breakfast is so critical, one important reason being that is helps control blood sugar levels. After a night’s sleep, blood sugar levels are likely to be at their lowest point and will rise after eating. To maintain a stable mood and focus we need to choose foods that will support a gradual rise in blood sugar rather than provide a ‘quick spike’.

This gradual rise will help to sustain our energy levels and concentration until the next meal-time. Not only does this impact on behaviour and learning, it also affects appetite, cravings for sweet foods and impacts on weight management.

While there are always studies being released that contradict existing nutritional advice, one piece of wisdom remains constant: Having a meal after waking up might be the single most important food decision of your day. While certain diets may advocate for fasting sessions or other reasons to skip breakfast, there’s significant evidence that eating a sensible plate in the a.m. has benefits that last well beyond your morning routine. If you’ve ever wondered why, read on.

What’s more important is that you’re eating whole foods packed with vitamins and nutrients that will fuel you throughout the day, whether or not you start eating in the morning.

The Importance of Breakfast: Why You Should Eat Breakfast

Breakfast and Your Weight

Can a morning meal be good for your waistline? Some studies say yes. Researchers have found that on average, people who eat breakfast are thinner than those who don’t. That could be because eating foods with protein and fiber in the morning keeps your appetite in check the rest of the day.

But it doesn’t guarantee you’ll fit into those skinny jeans. A recent study compared weight loss among people who ate breakfast with those with didn’t. The meal didn’t make any difference.

If you’re dieting, don’t think cutting calories by skipping the meal will help. Studies show that most people who lose weight and keep the weight off eat breakfast every day.

On the other hand, you need to pay attention to what, when, and how much you eat. One study showed that people who had large breakfasts ate more during the day.

Breakfast Encourages Healthier Eating

Breakfast helps you reach your daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. Those who eat breakfast also tend to consume more milk and whole grains than those who skip the meal. And as you probably know, milk offers up important calcium for your body.

Breakfast also fills your stomach, helping you to avoid overeating and snacking later in the day.

Improved Heart Health

The morning is when your body is most insulin-sensitive — when it uses blood sugar more effectively. So it’s a great time to choose fiber-filled carbs that will help you get 25 grams or more of dietary fiber a day to help lower your cholesterol.

You’re Literally Breaking A Fast

The period between your last pre-bed meal and hitting the alarm is usually the longest stretch of time your body goes without fuel. Eating within two hours of waking up can impact how levels of glucose (blood sugar), and the insulin that brings glucose to cells to be used for energy, are regulated for the remainder of the day. Skip breakfast, and it isn’t just your body running on empty: It’s your brain, too. Plus, the longer you put it off, the hungrier you’ll be when you actually sit down to eat.

Stuffing yourself with unhealthy treats in an attempt to satiate your hunger will cause your glucose to ebb and flow, creating unsteady energy levels and the potential for more overeating.

Is It Unhealthy To Skip Breakfast?

Weight loss aside, Collison says she’s “totally pro-breakfast” and encourages the vast majority of her clients to eat it, for a range of reasons.

“People who consume breakfast regularly often have increased physical activity. They have better dietary profiles and lower intake of snacks,” Collison says. “Skipping breakfast is associated with increased disease risk — not only obesity but diabetes, heart disease and just lower dietary quality.”

One small study from 2017 suggested that breakfast-eating could improve a range of metabolic health markers, potentially improving the body’s ability to burn fat and fight chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes — at least among people who were already lean. More research is needed to know how different types of people respond to fasting, the scientists say.

But what if you’re truly not hungry in the morning? Collison says that may be indicative of other problematic eating habits, like snacking at night. “If you eliminate that snacking and then wake up hungry and eat a good breakfast, your overall dietary pattern is going to be so much better, and your health status is going to be better,” Collison says.

Keeps You Focused

Eating a healthy breakfast helps us feel more focused for the coming day, whether we are at work or simply getting on with our daily routines. There’s nothing worse than being constantly aware that you are hungry and counting the minutes until lunchtime. Eating food in the morning not only fuels us until lunchtime but actually gives our brains the essential energy to function and focus better on tasks throughout the day.

Be Happy!

The foods we eat are intrinsically linked to our moods, and whilst many of us aren’t morning people we guarantee you’ll be less grumpy if you get a good breakfast in you! This is because eating in the morning gives our bodies that essential boost to get us going and also balances blood sugars to prevent those tired and cranky feelings!

Fill Up Your Tank

You would never drive your car for hours after the gas light goes on. The same goes for your body. When you wake up in the morning, your body is low on energy, or fuel. Eating early in the day helps to fill up your body’s ‘tank’ and gets your body ready for the day ahead. Eating breakfast also supplies your brain with glucose which has been shown to boost memory.

Most importantly, breakfast provides our bodies with essential nutrients first thing in the morning. Most people don’t get enough of the key ingredients, like fiber and potassium, that breakfast supplies. Research shows that when you skip breakfast, you are very unlikely to make up for the loss of nutrients later in the day.

Can Assist in Weight Loss

While there are no studies or evidence that proves skipping breakfast helps you lose weight, having breakfast can help curb your hunger and make better choices throughout the day.

So what should you eat? Foods that have protein, fiber, and healthy fats are best. An egg with a piece of wheat toast or whole-grain cereal with fruit.

Breakfast Kickstarts Your Metabolism

Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism in the morning. Getting your metabolism working early helps burn calories throughout the day. Skipping breakfast tells your body to conserve, rather than burn, extra calories.

Lower Your Diabetes Risk

One observational study found people who skipped breakfast four to five days a week had as much as a 55% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Reduce Brain Fog

Your brain needs fuel to function. Breakfast can help you be more alert, focused and happy.

It Keeps You Tuned In

Your brain loves the energy it extracts from meals, making a sensible a.m. bowl of oatmeal just as important for focus and concentration as it is for physical exertion. In one study, subjects fed oats had a markedly better ability to memorize and absorb information than those who didn’t eat at all.

Controls Your Appetite   

Those that are calorie-conscious could be forgiven for thinking that skipping out a meal will help them lose weight, but in fact the opposite may happen instead. If you don’t eat breakfast, you’re way more likely to end up snacking throughout the morning, which could pile up the unhealthy calories! Stay away from overly-refined snacks with added sugar, so if you do feel like snacking, Nakd Bars are just what you need!

Energise Yourself

It’s quite a simple equation – if you don’t eat, you won’t feel so great! Well this especially applies to your first meal of the day. The next time you wake up, think about the last time you ate – it might be anything up to ten hours so why make yourself wait longer? Our bodies need energy to function, and that energy comes from food. As soon as we start eating in the morning, we kickstart our body chemistry which gets us feeling energized and ready for the day.

Well, hopefully we have convinced a few of you to get up a little earlier and eat yourselves a lovely, healthy in the breakfast in the morning. Trust us, you’ll feel better for it!

Regulates Blood Sugar

Not eating breakfast can have a negative impact on your blood sugar. Not eating until lunch can interfere with your body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates. Skipping breakfast consistently promotes inflammation that can prevent your body from using its own insulin.

If you are diabetic, skipping breakfast can have even bigger toll on your body. The American Diabetes Association found that when diabetic people missed breakfast, their blood sugar levels were nearly 40% higher after lunch and 25% higher after dinner versus the days when they ate three meals.

All in all, breakfast is important. If you are looking to improve your overall health, eating breakfast is a good way to start.

Protein In The Morning Curbs Desires Later

Research shows that a breakfast high in protein—such as an omelet or Greek yogurt—is more likely to keep you fuller longer, preventing you from overeating or making poor food choices later on. In one study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated reduced activity in the portion of the brain making food demands for several hours following that first, protein-heavy meal.

What’s The Healthiest Breakfast?

Even if you’ve decided to eat breakfast, a question remains: what should you eat? A donut and coffee, Collison says, are not going to give you the same benefits as a well-balanced plate.

Collison says a good morning meal incorporates four things: protein, whole grains, healthy fat and a fruit or vegetable. Research has shown that protein and fat can increase satiety and cut down on unnecessary snacking later, while whole grains and produce add nutritious fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Collison recommends Greek yogurt with nuts, berries and whole-grain cereal or farro; scrambled eggs with veggies, plus toast with avocado and fruit on the side; or oatmeal made with milk, nut butter and fruit. Generally, she says she steers clients away from smoothies or juices. “I do encourage people to eat their breakfast, because you just don’t get the same sense of fullness” with a liquid.

For A Healthy Breakfast, Aim For Unprocessed Food With Protein, Fiber, And Healthy Fat

Taub-Dix recommends eating a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates to fuel your muscles and brain, along with healthy fats to help you feel more satisfied after eating.

Some examples of balanced breakfasts based from the DASH diet

include:

  • Oatmeal with peanut butter or almond butter and berries
  • Yogurt with fruit and nuts
  • Whole-grain toast with eggs and/or cheese and veggies

You can also find a mix of breakfast options under our Mediterranean diet 7-day meal plan like:

  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomato
  • Zucchini tomato frittata
  • Whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado and an egg

Avoid processed foods, like sweetened cereals or packaged pastries and muffins, as they can be high in added sugar, and may cause cravings or energy dips later in the day.

“So many people grab a muffin or a pastry but it doesn’t really satisfy you,” Taub Dix says. “You might find yourself with your head on your desk by noon.”

Instead, opt for complex carbs like whole grains over refined grains, since they’re high in fiber, which you digest more slowly making it more filling and important for a healthy gut biome.

When Should You Eat Breakfast?

The exact timing will vary depending on a person’s needs and schedule, but Collison says a good rule of thumb is to eat within an hour of waking. “It’s kind of like putting gas in your car,” Collison says.

If you’re going to work out in the morning, plan to eat something beforehand. “The quality of your workout could be compromised if you don’t fuel your body before,” Collison says. “The closer it is to the physical activity, the more you want carbohydrates and less fat and fiber, because that will take longer to digest.” Collison recommends a banana, oatmeal or cereal.

If you’ve done a vigorous workout, like running, for 45 minutes or more, you’ll likely need to eat again afterward for recovery. Something that replenishes fluid, carbs and protein — like chocolate milk — is a good option, as is a banana with peanut butter or cheese, crackers and fruit. A recovery meal probably isn’t necessary if you’ve done lighter exercise, like walking, Collison says.

Why Breakfast Is NOT The Most Important Meal Of The Day

When it comes to weight and overall health, what and how much you eat is more important than when you eat.

“My favorite word is balance, and that makes a big difference,” Taub-Dix says. 

Some scientific reviews have found that studies tend to overstate the importance of eating breakfast, and that hard data to show the benefits is quite limited.

While some studies have shown breakfast can help improve mental and physical performance in the morning, compared to going hungry, there’s little evidence that it has any advantage if you’re otherwise getting enough to eat overall. 

If you do skip breakfast, either intentionally or by mistake, the important thing is to make sure to eat nutrient-dense meals the rest of the day to make sure you’re fueling your body properly. For guidance, the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet are considered by nutritionists some of the healthiest eating plans you can follow.

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