Breakfast! Some dig it, some don’t! While some are ravenous when the day breaks, others simply don’t have an appetite and skipping breakfast is common practice. At the risk of sounding “old school”, I believe breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. As a nutritionist, I think there is more evidence to support the important role a healthy and nutrient dense breakfast plays on overall health, rather than the idea intermittent fasting.
SKIPPING BREAKFAST CAN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN:
Many people have the false understanding that skipping any meal will lead to weight loss. While you may lose weight initially, this is not sustainable and skipping meals long term can contribute to weight gain as well as hormonal imbalances. Here is why;
- Skipping meals forces your body into “starvation mode” which actually lowers your body’s metabolism. Your body will start storing the next meal in its reserves, which actually increases weight.
- Skipping meals, and particularly breakfast, increases the chance that you will start craving refined sugars and carbohydrates during the day. Eating these foods will increase your waist line and decrease your overall health. Also, these foods lack the nutrients that your body needs to function optimally.
Breakfast is just that; “breaking the fast”. You have naturally fasted overnight (unless you wake in the middle of the night to eat – and that is a whole other issue) so having a good protein rich breakfast each morning helps to provide your body with the energy it needs for the day and helps to stabilise blood sugar levels which is so important for maintaining a healthy weight.
Studies have also shown that people (and more importantly kids) who have a healthy breakfast, have better concentration levels during the day and retain more information. So having a good quality, protein rich breakfast supplies your body with energy as well as ensuring your ability to focus. Just think about it, when you are hungry are you focused on the task at hand or are you thinking about food? Or just not thinking at all? Eating regularly during the day is also important for mood management. So start the day right and eat to fuel BODY and MIND!
Research has also shown that skipping breakfast can contribute to BINGE EATING. When your body is in starvation mode it will crave the quick energy foods – Sugars and refined Carbs (Chocolates, energy drinks, biscuits, cakes and lollies). While these may help to satisfy your hunger quickly and give the body the much needed sugar spike, their energy release is short lived, and you will feel hungry just a short time later, leading to overeating and long term increase the risk of Obesity. This can also increase insulin resistance and increase the risk of pre-diabetes. Something you really want to avoid.
WHAT IS A GOOD BREAKFAST:
While many of the breakfast cereals available in the supermarket shelves are marketed as healthy breakfast choices, these are often loaded with sugar, are high in sodium, artificial colours and flavours and hold little nutritional value. So what do I recommend?
Eat real food. Get back to basics! Eat lean proteins (free range eggs are great), Fresh fruit, whole grains, make your own Granola and stay away from sugary cereals or refined carbohydrates. Select a good Natural yoghurt (Greek style, or Coconut Yoghurt) and mix in some fresh berries and sprinkle some LSA (A ground up mix of Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds). If you are not a fan of breakfast, start small by making your own smoothie including REAL FOODS. These are quick and easy and can be taken with you on the road for your commute to work. If you love your toast, swap your white breads for a good quality sourdough or at very least a grain bread which is lower GI.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Start the day right and the rest will follow.