We’ve all heard it, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Well,once again, Mom was right! You can go online and find conflicting reports and different reasoning – but I’d like to share my thoughts on breakfast and why I’m taking Mom’s side.
Studies show that you need to eat regularly to maintain a healthy weight, this keeps blood sugar stable (if you eat the right foods), helps ensure appropriate vitamin and nutrient intake and gives you energy to keep moving. For example, if you eat dinner at 6:00 pm, sleep all night and wake at 6:00 am – you’ve gone 12 hours without food. Our metabolism and bodily functions naturally slow when we sleep – this is why we don’t need to wake up and eat a meal in the middle of the night. But, when we wake up, our systems are up and at ’em – everything “turns on”, this requires food/calories/energy. If you skip breakfast and wait until lunch – you’ve possibly gone without food for 18 hours! What does this do to your metabolism? It slows it dramatically, putting you into storage mode. Your body is complex and will acclimate to circumstances. If you “starve” it, it will begin storing every calorie possible as it doesn’t know when you will feed it again. The body needs to know you will feed it what it needs regularly and it will operate optimally, ie. falling into a healthy weight and maintaining energy to keep you going all day.
Eating a healthy breakfast also helps reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which is at it’s highest in the morning or waking hours. When we go to sleep at night our bodies slow, however they take this time to repair themselves and they still have to provide basic functions. Our liver stores glycogen, our bodies will use the glycogen and our blood sugar to perform these functions as we sleep. By the time we are ready to wake up, the glycogen and insulin are depleted and need to be restored. If we do not consume calories to help restore these energy sources the body will release cortisol. This stress hormone is notorious for causing belly fat and starts to feed off of muscle proteins in a desperate effort to feed itself.
A healthy breakfast can also prevent “brain fog”. Studies show, children who eat a healthy breakfast have better concentration at school, it improves overall mental performance and math scores. According to pediatrician Dr. William Sears, children who eat breakfast also participate more in class discussions, are better able to handle complex problems in class and get better grades. The same goes for adults, we tend to think more clearly, be more alert and less distracted when we have a morning meal.
Overall, people who eat breakfast are healthier than those who don’t. Science is hesitant to say that breakfast is the reason for better health or a healthier weight, as they’re not sure if it’s actually breakfast that makes a person healthier or if people who live healthy lives are breakfast eaters. Either way, it’s the same end result – healthier weight, healthier bodies, healthier brains, win win win!