Breakfast is one of the most common misunderstandings for my clients. Some people assume you will lose weight by skipping breakfast. Or they consider coffee with cream a suitable breakfast. I disagree – wholeheartedly!
You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This isn’t an “old wives tale”. It’s a fact and now there’s compelling statistics as proof.
Massive Health used it’s Eatery application to take 7.68 million food rating from users in over 50 countries for over 5 months in order to compile statistics regarding eating habits. What was found? People who eat breakfast tend to eat 12.3% healthier throughout the day.
Of course, the question remains as to why eating breakfast makes us healthier and what types of breakfast are best. Read on!Sure, statistically you can’t rule out that those people who eat breakfast may just tend to be healthier anyway. I mean they are organized enough to get up in time to eat and have something to make for breakfast. But studies starting in 1949 (the first I can find) show that eating breakfast helps maintain blood sugar levels, prevents food cravings, and improves will power later in the day.
Another reason not to skip breakfast: the food we eat tends to decrease in healthiness by 1.7% for each hour that passes in the day. Definitely then we want to make the first meal of the day, breakfast, start us out right. Of course, when you think about the fact that during breakfast we seldom indulge in sodas, alcohol, or desserts, that might be the reason for this statistic. But, again – better make a great choice at breakfast than. It’s even more important if you know you might be indulging later.
Breakfast & Blood Sugar
Note the word breakfast – “break” and “fast”. This is the meal where you break your fasting from the nighttime sleep. If you don’t break the fast but you’re up moving, using energy, etc. you body has no fuel. It can pull some resources from reserves but the longer you wait the tougher it is for your body to stay balanced. If you choose a carbohydrate loaded breakfast then your glucose spikes, which means it’s going to crash later starting an up and down roller coaster of blood sugar.
Best solution is a breakfast that is higher in protein and fat than carbohydrates. Don’t completely skip carbohydrates though, we still want balance, but make them vegetables rather than breads. The picture for this blog is a homemade spinach frittata (recipe on the website site) which is a perfect start to your day.
Breakfast & Food Cravings
Food cravings are very much aligned to blood sugar. Start your day with coffee and a donut and you’ve set your blood sugar up on the roller coaster again. Plus you’ve triggered sugar and caffeine desires so come 2-3 p.m. when your body starts crashing your brain and taste buds will send your brain signals for more sugar and/or caffeine (yep, Starbucks has made a fortune off afternoon food cravings!). The more we indulge in the foods we crave the more we crave them (I know, it’s a very vicious cycle.) Again, a higher protein breakfast balanced with good complex carbohydrates and good fat will keep you away from the vending machine’s call of the Snickers.
Breakfast and Will Power
If you have better blood sugar balance and less food cravings, it’s naturally easier to have better will power. I know it may seem a bit simplistic, but it’s true. If you focus on eating a healthy breakfast, it will help you continue your focus on health throughout the day.
If you’re still not sure breakfast is for you or if you’re one of these people that tell me they just can’t eat first thing in the morning – I challenge you. Give it one week – just seven days. Make something like the spinach frittata in advance so you can reheat and go. Yep, force feed yourself that breakfast if you have to for the seven days. But, I guarantee you, your blood sugar will be better regulated, your food cravings will subside, you will have more energy, and you’ll feel better all day long. Massive Health has the statistics and now you have the plan of action.
Food Tech Connect. January 26, 2012. http://www.foodtechconnect.com/2012/01/26/infographic-of-the-week-carbs-are-killing-you/
Massive Health. June 4, 2012. http://blog.massivehealth.com/
Orent-Keiles, E et al. (1949). The breakfast meal in relation to blood-sugar values. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture.