Are you a breakfast skipper?
Does it really matter?
Here is the low down on whether breakfast really matters
So - Do we really need breakfast?
Time and time again i come across breakfast skippers - not enough time, not hungry, reducing calories - whatever the reasoning they are missing out on the first meal of the day. So, is breakfast really as important as its made out to be, do we really need it??
In theory, from a basic science approach of calories in v calories out and nutrient requirements, does it really matter when these calories and nutrients are consumed. In theory no, if you get your total calories in and the right nutrients you will survive and function but how and when you eat can make a difference in how you function and optimal health.
There is no real scientific evidence that breakfast revs up the metabolism which is often that is hyped up in the media. However, many studies have shown eating breakfast to help with eating habits, energy levels and other health benefits.
Reasons why you should eat breakfast
Breakfast really has some positive benefits on weight management, health and lifestyle. Eating breakfast can provide a boost to your efforts and health.
Breakfast is actually named for its purpose - the break of fast - each night you sleep you are fasting and when you eat upon waking you break this fast and supply your body with energy for the activity to come. In theory, a fast can convert your body to use fat supplies as fuel / energy but depending on your body and your energy levels this is unlikely to provide adequate energy supply to meet your daily activity. Eating breakfast helps to keep your energy levels stable throughout the morning
Avoiding top heavy diets
Western society is renowned for a to heavy diet, eating the majority of our calories in the evening, which is kind of backwards. Most of us are most active throughout the day and wind down in the evening but are eating habits do not correlate with this. Eating less in the day when the energy is needed and more in the evening when less is needed. Having a good healthy breakfast helps to avoid this scenario.
Benefits on blood sugar levels
Blood sugars are generally higher in the morning for most. A healthy breakfast lower in carbohydrates has been show to have a positive impact on blood sugar levels post eating and generally throughout the day.
Promote healthy habits and prevent unhealthier habits
Eating a healthy breakfast helps kick start the day with a healthy boost making it less likely to turn to unhealthier snacks mid morning and promotes a healthier approach to the day, helping us make better choices and be more active
Breakfast is another opportunity to flood our body with the nutrients it needs helming ensure that our body gets plenty of vitamins and minerals. The more opportunities we have, the more likely we will get what we need and more for optimal health and wellbeing.
Assist with digestion
Eating a healthy breakfast with plenty of fibre will help your digestion system. The best way to keep your digestion running smoothly is regular scheduled eating. when you skip meals you can get indigestion and become bloated.
Boosts cognitive function
Many studies have shown that breakfast can increase memory and concentration levels as well as improve mood and wellbeing so give your brain the morning boost it needs by eating breakfast.
In theory missing breakfast reduces calories and thus many would think promote weight loss. However, many studies have shown that those that eat breakfast (healthy) have more weight loss and / or are slimmer than those that skip it. This could be down to many reasons already mentioned - more energy = more active, better eating habits throughout the day, less likely to turn to sugary snacks, better digestion, better control go blood sugar levels, more nutrients and just general better functioning.
Long term health benefits
There are many benefits of eating breakfast including long term health - backed by the NHS - “Eating breakfast has long term health benefits. It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes”
What should you eat for breakfast
Eating benefits has great benefits but this doesn't mean you turn to a sugary pastry everyday. To get the benefits your need to be eating a healthy breakfast. So what is a healthy breakfast?
The key to a good healthy breakfast is
Protein - protein helps you stay fuller for longer so helps you avoid turning to sugary snacks mid morning, it also has a more positive effect on blood sugars and insulin management
Fibre in vegetables and slow release carbohydrates, gets the digestion flowing better and can help control blood sugar levels
Avoid Sugary Cereals - so may of the people that do eat breakfast often turn to sugary cereals. These really are the worse thing for you. They are often refined sugars that have a negative impact on your blood sugars especially the they are already higher in the morning. They also wont fuel you for long so you will more likely eat more later.
Eggs or oats are a great way to start the day and give you the boost needed.
Tips for ensuring you get a good healthy breakfast boost
Time is the most common reason given for people not eating breakfast or eating the wrong foods but it really doesn't have to mean getting up at the crack of dawn.
Here are some tips to ensure you get a good deathly start to the day:
Prepare the night before - either prepare all of your breakfast ready such as overnight oats (there are plenty of recipes online) or just get everything out ready to speed things up
Prepare a couple of days in advance - people always think that eggs need to be warm, but by making a large frittata you can cut it into slices and eat it cold and even on the go if you must
Get into a routine - just like you would brushing your teeth or putting your makeup on, get into a routine of making breakfast. Once it is routine it should only take 15 minutes more
Take it with you - although it is said that it is best eaten within 1-2 hours of waking, if you really cant stomach breakfast first thing, take it with you and have when you get to work
Build it up - many people not used to eating breakfast find it difficult to eat too much first thing so build it up, start with something small and over time gradually build it up to a good meal portion.
Make your own - if you find you turn to quick cereals for breakfast, try making your own. use oats, nuts, seeds, coconuts, maybe a few bits of dried fruit (but don't go mad) and make a batch of healthy muesli to last all week.