We’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it shouldn’t be skipped. Ever wondered why it is so essential?
You may be in a hurry to go to work or upset at not being able to lose weight. Or you may just not be in the mood to cook anything the first thing in the morning.
So what do you do?
Skip breakfast and pick up just the coffee instead.
Breakfast is important for a number of reasons, and while there’s no harm in skipping it once in a while, it should not become a habit.
Here are four reasons why breakfast is too good to be missed.
It Fuels You the First Thing in the Morning
You have been asleep the whole night. Your last meal was at 9pm the night previous. It’s 8am now. You’ve gone for 11 hours without food. Of course, your body is in a state of starvation and needs food to wake up and to get properly functional again.
Well, coffee does it nicely too, you say.
You’re right. Coffee does get you started, but it does not give you any nutrition. It merely gives you a caffeine and/or sugar kick, which tides you over the rest of the morning.
The human body, however, is not designed to run on sugar and caffeine, not for long anyway.
It evolved eating real food, so that is what it craves. Each time you are hungry, your body wants nutrition, not just empty calories or caffeinated drinks. To not give your body what it needs is to sabotage it and to compromise your long-term health.
It Kick-starts Your Metabolism
As opposed to tea or coffee, a proper breakfast will boost your energy levels for the rest of the morning, not just give you a short burst of energy.
Consuming sugary beverages in the morning does give us an instant kick and wake us up, but this spike in insulin is followed by a sharp fall. We perform our best when our blood sugar is stable, not fluctuating.
Food is also better than a caffeinated drink, or nothing at all, when it comes to awakening our metabolism in the morning and gearing it up for the rest of the day.
When you skip this meal, your body dulls as a whole. Not only is your brain not sharp during the day, your metabolism goes in a slow drive too.
It Boosts Your Brain
Image credit: http://healthiack.com/images/very-healthy-breakfast.jpg
Your options for a healthy breakfast are many.
Eating a nutritious breakfast (whole wheat bread or fruit, some lean protein, and a little bit of healthy fat) not just brings your glucose levels up to scratch, it also releases a steady flow of energy. This has been found to lead to improved performance in children and adults alike. While breakfast helps everyone, it helps kids even more. Kids who skip breakfast have been found to be more absent-minded and dull at the school in comparison to those who regularly have a hearty and healthy first meal of the day.
It Aids Weight Loss
Now this is debatable, but many studies have found that eating a proper and nutritious breakfast helped their subjects lose weight over the long-term.
The reasoning being that eating a fulfilling meal in the morning saves us from overeating later on. You won’t crave any sugary or savory snacks as the day wears on since you would still be satiated with your morning breakfast.
But this only works when you follow up your breakfast with the next proper meal, i.e. lunch. If you go the whole day without eating anything and running on coffee, you will more than make up for it later on. In which case, it wouldn’t matter if or what you had for breakfast.
But I lose weight when I skip breakfast!
Those who say that skipping breakfast helps them lose weight are missing the point. This weight loss occurs not because you skipped breakfast, but because your overall calorie consumption for the day went down.
Any decent breakfast would come in at around 300 calories, which saved over a period of a week leads to a deficit of 2100 calories. It takes a deficit of 3500 calories for us to lose one pound of body fat. So if you are in the habit of not eating breakfast at all, it’s understandable that you lose weight over a longer period. However, do bear in mind that it’s not just the weight you lose, but also a bit of your health. Your mornings won’t be as bright or productive as they could be if you’d fueled yourself properly. For early birds and kids attending morning school, breakfast therefore becomes important.
Furthermore, not all weight loss is equal. You want to lose fat, not muscle or bone density. Skipping on meals leads to an overall loss of mass.
While we don’t recommend skipping any of the major meals, you are better off cutting down on your dinner than on your breakfast if calorie restriction is your goal.
Eating breakfast works because it gives your body and your brain a nutritious start. But it is still only a start. How you fare the rest of the day would depend on the choices you make around food the whole time. If you can bring yourself to lead an overall disciplined life, you will find that eating breakfast regularly will take you closer to your health-related goals.