Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day?
We’ve all heard that healthier, fitter people don’t skip breakfast. But does that mean breakfast makes us healthier and thinner – or is it something else?
Breakfast is a surprisingly divisive topic: You either love it or hate it. It’s the most important meal of the day or there’s nothing special about it. But what are the facts?
The clue for why breakfast is supposed to be important is in its name: we’re advised to eat it to ‘break our overnight fast.’
The body uses a lot of energy stores for growth and repair through the night so eating a balanced breakfast helps to up our energy, as well as protein and calcium used throughout the night.
Breakfast Is Especially Crucial for Kids
If mealtime suddenly becomes World War III in your home, we can relate. I’m sure you’ve had days where your kids may not feel like eating, but breakfast is a battle worth fighting. Most children don’t get all the vitamins and minerals they need from just snacks, lunch and dinner. Plus, kids who don’t eat in the morning have a harder time focusing, and they become more tired in school. They may also be cranky or restless, and it isn’t just their moods that can suffer. Their schoolwork can, too.
It’s important to note though that you can’t just eat anything at breakfast time and expect to reap the benefits.
High carbohydrate foods lead to massive fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin, creating an energy high, but quickly followed by a crash that ultimately leaves you hungry, and searching for, you guessed it, more low-quality carbohydrates.
A more protein-based meal at breakfast may however benefit you, and your waistline, all day long by reducing cravings and hunger. Research has shown a 35-gram, high-protein breakfast led to participants eating less calories the rest of the day, as well as them having more stable glucose levels and reduced hunger.
The important thing is to eat food, and not manufactured calories and steer clear of foods that have massive amounts of added sugar or reach you via your car window at a drive through.
If you’re trying to shed the pounds by cutting calories at breakfast, you may want to reassess your diet strategy. A new study confirms there is truth to the old saying “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper,” discounting the popular belief that eating several small meals throughout the day is the best metabolism-boosting weight-loss method.
The idea of eating a big breakfast, medium-sized lunch and small dinner has been around since the 1960s, but now research is starting to back up the benefits of this type of meal plan, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
You’ll often hear weight-loss experts say the key to losing weight is to eat fewer calories, but research shows that what time of day you eat may have more of an influence on weight maintenance and loss than it’s often given credit for. If you want to be a candidate for weight-loss success, eating all your calories before the clock strikes six may be to your advantage.
A recent American study showed individuals with the biggest decreases in their BMIs were those who ate their largest meal early in the day and ate less frequently. On the other hand, people who ate more than three times a day and had their biggest meal later in the day (after 6 pm) saw the biggest increase in their BMIs.
It can therefore be assumed although many people typically eat their biggest meal later in the day, there can be benefits to making breakfast your biggest meal instead.
Whichever meal you decide to make your biggest, make sure it contains healthy foods rather than foods that are high in fat and low in nutrients, and if you’re trying to lose weight, the most important thing is to eat fewer calories, and this may be easier to do if you eat more of your calories earlier rather than later in the day.