I’m sure you’ve been told 'Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.' your entire life by your mom, grandparents, and maybe even your teachers and coaches. Whether you believed them or not, you went along with it, but have you ever wondered why they say breakfast is so important? Well, to many in the health world, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for numerous reasons.
Breakfast is literally "breaking the fast". Your last meal was dinner at 6 or so in the evening. Your body digested most of that and has been in fasting mode ever since.The benefits of eating within 2 hours of waking are plentiful, and here are just a few:
- Eating breakfast can boost your metabolism
- It can keep you from eating more throughout the day
- It can give you the energy to make it through the day
- It can even work as a mild antidepressant.
Question: Would you try to drive your car without putting gas in first?
Answer: Probably not. You should treat your body the same way. Breakfast is like putting gas in “your tank” before you take off for the day.
Eating breakfast every day can potentially raise your resting metabolism rate by ten percent, according to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Cancer Center, and keep you in a state of thermogenesis (ie., your metabolism running as fast as it can). Having this faster metabolism and maintaining the habit of eating breakfast every morning can actually help lower the risk of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Breakfast can also be important for weight loss as well. While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers, and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day. Eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day and help people make better food choices at other meals.
The morning meal is a very important fuel source for the day. It is said that breakfast can increase mental and physical performance in the morning and has a lasting effect on the rest of the day. Having this extra energy, as well as having a cup of coffee in the morning, can even act as a mild antidepressant by stimulating the body’s central nervous system and elevating serotonin and dopamine levels - therefore making you feel better each day you choose to eat that first meal.
Generally speaking, breakfast-eaters are much healthier and have better eating habits than those who skip or do not eat breakfast. Starting your day off with a healthy meal like oatmeal, whole grain cereal, or eggs helps people stay on track to healthy eating for the rest of the day.
If you don’t already, try eating breakfast every day this week for one week and see if you feel a difference in energy and performance! Here a couple ideas to start your day off right:
- Try a slice of multi-grain toast with an egg on top.
- A berry smoothie with almond milk and a scoop of plant-based protein powder.
- If you need something quick grab some string cheese and eat it along with an apple.
By adding a source of protein to your breakfast it will keep you satiated longer and keep you away from that midday, sometimes unhealthy snacks. Breakfast is a make-it-or-break-it meal, and by pairing a carbohydrate with a protein, your body will metabolize the nutrients more efficiently and use the carbohydrates as a source for energy.
Want to talk about breakfast serving sizes and recipes? Get an AGS Health & Wellness Genetic Test and you will receive a one-on-one consultation with an AGS Nutrition Specialist who can walk you through your report and advise you on how to make your genetics work for you, rather than against you.