Ok, so you stayed up a little too late last night. You hit the snooze button a cool seven times to get extra sleep this morning. And now you’ve finally rolled out of bed and have only a few minutes to get ready and head to work. But for heaven’s sake, please don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast has become an all too common occurrence today in society, and if you think that has nothing to do with the obesity epidemic, you better think again. You’ve undoubtedly heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But why is that?
Breakfast is important for many reasons. Countless studies have shown that people who successfully lose weight and/or maintain a healthy body weight usually eat breakfast. The word itself indicates that you’re breaking the fast that your body has been going through since last night’s dinner (or that middle of the night chocolate binge you thought was just a bad dream). After a prolonged period of not eating, your body is in fasting mode which means it is not burning a lot of fuel. It hasn’t been fed in a while, so it switches into conservation mode and becomes stingy with its metabolic rate. Eating breakfast tells your body, “I’m feeding you buddy, don’t worry. This is 2012, a time of plenty, so don’t even worry about starvation. Go ahead and start burning some excess fat and sugar and let’s get this day rolling.”
Beyond kick-starting your metabolism, eating breakfast also helps you make a better nutritional decision for your next meal. If your body has gone 16+ hours without food, you’re going to crave anything edible that comes across your consciousness. One minute you’ll be watching a Taco Bell commercial, and the next thing you know you’ll be weathering a food coma after lunch. But if you’ve eaten breakfast, temptation is much easier to resist. Your brain runs on sugar and sugar alone, so if you want your brain to be able to resist temptation, it’s going to need a little blood sugar in order to make the proper decision. In a somewhat paradoxical way, eating and fueling your brain properly helps you be better able to resist the temptation of a high fat/high sugar meal.
A point that needs to be mentioned here as well is that coffee alone does not count as breakfast. And neither does a 5-Hour Energy. And neither does a Red Bull. Caffeine is a hell of a drug, there’s no argument there. But the real combination you’re seeking to start your day off right and get things done is caffeine and sugar. Caffeine alone is worth a little buzz and a little energy, but an hour later you’ll be feeling weak and anxious, and probably get the sense that your stomach is trying to digest itself. Caffeine may turbo-charge the brain, but that engine still needs fuel in the form of food. The most powerful engine in the world is useless without gasoline. Combine that caffeine with a decent breakfast, and now you’re really off to the races.
And the breakfast in question doesn’t need to be fit for a king. We’re not talking a ham, egg, and cheese three-egg omelet here with hash browns, gluten-free toast, and orange juice. That certainly works, but if you’re like me you don’t awake with a ravenous appetite. But getting in the habit of at least a small breakfast is extremely beneficial. A banana and a yogurt, granola, or a bowl of cereal would all be fine choices. There are some good options for gluten-free breakfast cereals, including Chex. Oats, assuming they weren’t cross-contaminated, would work great as well. Quinoa and all its nutritional benefits would also be a good choice. As long as the breakfast in question has at least a little bit of carbohydrate, protein and fat, you should be setting yourself up well for a day of healthy eating and living. So next time you’re tempted to skip breakfast, skip that notion and have at least a small meal. Your mind and body will thank you.
Article Courtesy: Andrew Steingrube
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