Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
We have heard this time and time again but is it actually true? And if it is true then what makes breakfast so special compared to other meals? There are many people willing to give out this age-old piece of advice but where are the cold hard facts I hear you say?
Breakfast and Weight
Well let’s start with this. People who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don’t eat breakfast. It seams quite ironic really especially when in theory the opposite should be true. Surely by skipping breakfast your total amount of calories consumed across the day would be less right? Wrong!
Studies with humans have consistently shown that those who skip breakfast will make up for the missing calories in other meals and snacks during the day.
An extra bite here and a sneaky sip there. And most times we end up more than compensating for the lack of breakfast by actually eating more. Crazy.
The above phenomenon goes some way to explaining why those who eat breakfast tend to weigh less. In America there is a weight loss register that keeps track of dieters who have lost more that 15kg and kept it off for a whole year. One of the key factors among those successful dieters is that they all eat breakfast. And they exercise frequently as well, but that’s another story.
The fact is that if you want to eat less during the day then start by eating breakfast.
What makes a healthy breakfast?
Ok so we know that breakfast is important but will any type of breakfast do? Absolutely not! What you eat at breakfast is very important. Unfortunately most commercial breakfast products like cereals and flavored milk drinks e.g. Up and Go, are far from ideal, and have an long range impact on hunger levels, sugar cravings and blood sugar levels.
A good breakfast will keep blood sugar levels stable for much of your day along with your energy and hunger.
Research has shown that what you eat for breakfast can stimulate blood sugar crashes and sugar cravings (often repeatedly) for up to 12 hours. That’s like the whole day!
So what should we eat at breakfast? The 2 most important nutrients at breakfast are fiber and protein. Most good breakfasts will contain both. These work together to stabilize blood sugar levels and will keep you feeling full and content for longer. Say goodbye to mid morning hunger pangs.
Examples of good breakfast foods are porridge (using rolled oats), muesli (with rolled oats), eggs on wholegrain toast, fruit and protein smoothie (with real fruit and real protein) or other wholegrain cereals with minimum processing or added sugar ie. Wheat bix, vitabrits, Shredded wheat and All bran.
Examples of food to avoid are anything with processed carbs and added sugars ie. 90% of breakfast cereals, 100% of breakfast bars and flavored milks.