The Benefits of Breakfast

You’ve heard it before- “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

During the night, your body uses the fuel (glucose) that is stored in your liver, blood, and muscles to keep the heart beating, the lungs breathing, the nerves transmitting, and the cells dividing. Since the time span between dinner and breakfast is the longest between any of the three meals of the day, your body is in a fasting mode. That’s why breakfast literally “breaks the fast”.

If you skip breakfast, you’ve actually been fasting for 15-20 hours. Recent research has shown that skipping breakfast is associated with elevated fasting lipids and circulating insulin in adults; this can lead to weight gain if the greater calorie intake that is observed when breakfast is omitted in maintained. In children, those who begin their day without breakfast have shown a decline in attention in the late morning hours, a negative attitude toward school work and a decrease in scholastic achievement. Importantly, eating breakfast is a common characteristic of people who belong to The National Weight Control Registry. These are individuals who have maintained a 30-pound weight loss for at least a year and some as long as six years. 78% of these people report eating breakfast everyday. People think that by skipping breakfast they are cutting calories. But most people who skip breakfast replace those calories during the day with high calorie nibbling and overeating at lunch, dinner, or in the evening.

There are other good reasons to eat breakfast:

• Eating a nutritious breakfast that includes at least one serving of fruit increases your chances of meeting the recommended 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Many studies have shown that fruit and vegetables lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.

• Starting your day with a breakfast cereal increases your chances of meeting nutrient needs. Most cereals are fortified with many of the vitamins and minerals we need every day.

• The best cereals are a good source of dietary fiber – we need 25-30 grams of fiber to be our healthiest.

• If you are trying to control your weight, having a healthy, high fiber breakfast can be key. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have a low energy density which means you can eat more volume but consume fewer calories.

• Some breakfast is better than no breakfast. Keep breakfast or energy bars in case there’s no time for breakfast or as an emergency meal at the office

If you are a veteran breakfast skipper, consider changing your ways, even if you aren’t hungry. Try picking up breakfast at your office or school café. It may take 2 to 3 weeks to re-set your internal appetite center. After that you will notice that you will have fewer problems with overeating later in the day!

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