Phrases like ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ or ‘eat breakfast like a king’, have become part of our food philosophies. But has anyone stopped to consider whether they hold any truth?
The media tells us that eating breakfast can make us cleverer, more alert, energetic and productive. Skip breakfast and you’ll instantly gain 10 pounds. However, recent skeptics have begun to ask where is the evidence?
Researchers have analysed thousands of breakfast studies in the search of whether breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. To great surprise, no real correlation between breakfast and weight loss or intelligence was found.
Some even argue that skipping breakfast is the way forward! There is a growing movement of scientists who swear that missing breakfast altogether brings a multitude of health benefits such as increase fat breakdown, blood glucose control and decreased fat intake.
Of course I am not suggesting that we all ditch breakfast (I genuinely couldn’t live without it), but I am just warning that we shouldn’t take everything we are told as fact.
Since birth I have been a breakfast fanatic. My first word was ‘milk’ and I can happily say that I ate 2 bowls of chocolate minibix everyday for about 6 years, to the point where I started taking boxes to sleep overs so I wouldn’t have to go without. I had always justified this by telling myself how important breakfast was, so the recent move against breakfast is a real wake up call (…pun intended).
However, although the psychological and biological benefits of eating breakfast are yet to be proven, the individual differences between people mean that findings don’t always apply to everyone. In other words, breakfast seems to be beneficial for some but not for others.
Personally breakfast sets me up for the day, helps me to concentrate and kick starts the day in a healthy way. Others seem to say breakfast makes them eat more later on or don’t feel hungry in the morning. Basically it depends on the individual, try both and see what works for you.
But the important thing to remember whether we should breakfast like kings or not, is to start the day with a healthy meal! Since changing my diet I have begun experimenting with many healthier versions of my favourite breakfasts. Here are a few reasons why I think breakfasts are helping me to keep up my healthy eating!
1. Begin how you mean to go on: Starting the day on a healthy note seems to effect subsequent choices abut food and exercise, setting me up for a healthy day.
2. Prevents bingeing: Psychologically, if our bodies are deprived we tend to later compensate by indulging later on. This comes from our innate need to prepare for famine. Our bodies are designed to eat more in hunger to prevent possible starvation. In the past I would constantly ‘reward’ myself for missing a meal by eating a huge amount of unhealthy foods. Hence avoiding that empty feeling that often arises during weight-loss attempts can counter deprivation and subsequent bingeing.
3. Being mindful in the morning. Rushing out of bed and out the door is a stressful way to start the day. Sitting down to a meal gives your body and mind time to wake up and gives you time to enjoy some peace before our hectic and busy lives begin.