How What You Eat for Breakfast Affects Your Body
Is it really as important to eat breakfast as everyone says? And if it is, does it matter what you eat? Find out by reading on!
We often hear, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" But what really makes it so important? Does not eating breakfast really affect your body or have any impacts on the rest of the day? Let's find out!
The Power of Breakfast
For some, breakfast is the first thought of the day while for others, breakfast is not a concern whatsoever (besides maybe a cup of coffee). Research has shown those who eat breakfast have increased concentration as well as healthier body weights. However, new research from Columbia University challenged whether or not breakfast really is the healthiest meal of the day. The study consisted of thirty-six overweight participants (body mass index or BMI greater than 25 kg/m2) and divvied up into three subject groups: a group who ate Quaker Quick Oats, another who ate Frosted Flakes, and one who ate nothing at all. When it came to weight loss, overweight individuals who did not consume breakfast were the ones who lost it. Interestingly, those who ate nothing and lost weight had increased cholesterol concentrations compared to the breakfast-consuming groups.
Breakfast is often considered to promote weight loss by breaking the fasted state and starting the day's metabolism, or how fast or slow the body is able to breakdown food and use for energy. The body starts fasting after going eight to 12 hours without food or beverage intake. During this time period, the body starts to enter starvation mode where it taps into other energy stores and metabolism starts to slow down. Eating breakfast, and assuming the last meal was dinner the night before, breaks the fast and revs metabolism back up. Those who skip breakfast have a prolonged fasted state thus a slower metabolism to start the day. Additionally, in a fasted state, blood sugars start to drop and consuming an adequate breakfast can help reregulate them. Stabilizing blood sugars is extremely important for those managing diabetes. Skipping breakfast can provoke hazardous blood sugar drops and spikes.
The Breakfast Plate
Not all breakfast plates are treated the same. To reap all the healthful benefits, the meal composition should be filled with colorful nutrients and lean protein. Unfortunately, the sprinkled donuts do not count as "colorful" nutrients. Instead, load up eggs with bell peppers, spinach, and other veggies desired. Smoothies are a great way to consume fruits in the morning while receiving an adequate amount of protein. Use Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and/or milk as the base and blend in any type of fruit. Although the color of the smoothie may be distorted, throwing in handfuls of spinach or kale is a good way to hide and consume vegetables without compromising flavor.
The timing of breakfast is still in question. Ideally, breakfast is suggested to be consumed before 10:00 a.m. or within an hour of wakening to break the fasting cycle. Realistically, there is less agreement on timing but more concern that people are actually eating it. Schedules vary from person to person; some may work nightshifts and the recommended timings are unrealistic. In these sort of instances, it would be suggested individuals are eating quality, nutrient-dense foods.
A Breakfast Habit
Nonetheless, consuming a well-balanced breakfast helps kick start the day and guides the rest of it with healthful decisions. If you fell into the "non-breakfast" group, that's okay! Eating breakfast does not have to be a chore, as it shouldn't be. When venturing into the breakfast world, start small and realistic. Even starting the day out with a glass of nonfat or skim milk is admirable considering the natural carbohydrate and protein it contains. Grab a banana and a Greek yogurt, an apple and peanut butter, the options can be endless. Adopting breakfast can ultimately turn it into a habit upon waking each morning!
Geliebter A, Astbury NM, Aviram-Friedman R, Yahav E, Hashim S. Skipping breakfast leads to weight loss but also elevated cholesterol compared with consuming daily breakfasts of oat porridge or frosted cornflakes in overweight individuals: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2014;3:e56. doi:10.1017/jns.2014.51.