Why eating breakfast is good for you
Breakfast like a King
Lunch like a Prince
Dine like a Pauper
Eating breakfast, as this old proverb indicates, is still the most important meal of the day. Several different scientific studies (see below) have shown this to be true. These studies looked at the relationship between eating breakfast, weight gain and the tendency towards Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. These studies came out in favour of having breakfast to both reduce weight gain and to be healthier. So why do so many people skip it?
The main reason given was that people thought it would cut down on daily calories consumed. Some also stated there wasn’t enough time in the mornings to do this. Although skipping breakfast reduces calories early in the day, it was shown that most people ‘catch-up’ on these missing calories by eating more snacks and/or larger portions of other meals. It was also shown that people who ate breakfast were more alert at work than those who skipped this meal. Most of the studies focused on whether people ate breakfast or not and not what was eaten. And to me the ‘what’ is the most important part of having breakfast
Many people begin their day with a bowl of cereal with skimmed milk or a slice of toast with butter and marmalade washed down with a cup of coffee or orange juice. Food manufacturers make a big deal of the vitamins and minerals added to their cereals. What they don’t tell you is the 5—8 they add to the cereals are a legal requirement because their food processing destroys them. In fact up to 25 different nutrients are depleted or destroyed in the process of making most breakfast cereals. Without these essential vitamins and minerals added, the nutrient content of most cereals would be truly minimal. Another reason these breakfasts are not a good choice is down to their high sugar content and at the same time poor protein/good fat content. A breakfast that is high in sugar (including foods like cereals or bread which are quickly broken down into sugar in the body) will give you an instant hit of energy, but will also quickly raise your blood sugar levels which, without fibre protein and good fats to counter-balance it, can lead to your body converting this sugar into body fat.
What makes a healthy breakfast?
A healthy breakfast contains good amounts of quality protein. Good sources are: eggs, whey, rice or hemp protein, beans, oats, quinoa or chia seeds. You also need small amounts of good fats such as: nuts, seeds (raw or as oils) and avocado. Finally, add and some fresh or frozen fruit and ideally, some vegetables such as spinach, salad leaves, kale or greens powders.
I believe breakfast is best eaten an hour after getting up, but I know that for most people this simply isn’t possible. One way around this is the super-easy Overnight Oats recipe which as it’s name implies you make the night before. In the morning, you can grab your overnight oats from the fridge on your way out and then eat at work. This also might help you if you struggle with eating the moment you get up.
Other good examples of clean, healthy breakfasts include protein smoothies, porridge, overnight oats, chia pudding and poached eggs. Why not try out some new breakfasts for a change? Click here to see my breakfast recipes. If you don’t feel ready to change straight-away, try these new breakfasts on days that you have a little more time. When you do, notice the changes to your appetite at lunchtime and your energy levels through-out the day. This noticing may help you begin to adopt my mantra of ‘begin your day well’ with a clean, healthy breakfast, and it helps the rest of the day. I hope it will. Let me know how you get on!
Read these studies for more information
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