David discusses the ‘Most Important Meal of the Day’
Breakfast is the meal many people struggle with - whether it’s a lack of time in the morning or you simply don’t feel like eating first thing after waking up. We all have our bad habits, but missing breakfast is one habit that’s worth breaking.
You have (hopefully!) been asleep for the last 6-8 hours without consuming food, so in essence you have been fasting. When you wake up, the clock starts ticking so the sooner the better when it comes to breaking that fast with your nutritiously balanced first meal of the day.
One of my former nutritionists once described skipping breakfast as the sumo diet. You are tricking your body into thinking you are starving it which means that your body stores the next meal you consume as it doesn't think it will get food for another 8 hours. By storing the food as fat, the body doesn’t use it properly and effectively.
I find that when I don't eat for hours can also suffer from headaches, feel lethargic and I'm grumpy! If you dodge breakfast, the next meal may be lunch, which means you may have starved yourself for nearly 13 hours at a time.
I recently read a study from the University of Missouri which found that having breakfast, particularly one that is high in protein, increased levels of dopamine (a brain chemical responsible for moderating impulses and reward). This is known to reduce food cravings and overeating later in the day. Eating in the morning also releases these chemicals to the brain and as a result can also steady glucose levels throughout the day.
For my breakfast I tend to go for energy and hunger controlling foods. I try to lead an active lifestyle and partake in some form of daily exercise. On these days I will include a slow release form of carbohydrates such as porridge oats. Along with the oats I will include energy-rich foods including fruit, vegetables and hunger controlling protein like Greek yogurt and eggs for balance.
If I’m in a rush, I make a quick smoothie by combining raw porridge oats, almond milk, Greek yogurt, cucumber, frozen berries and a quarter of a fresh avocado.
If you are someone who tends to exercise in the early morning, go for something smaller an hour before you set out, such as a banana or whole-grain bread with peanut butter, and then you can enjoy that hard-earned breakfast post training.
With all of this in mind, the important thing is to eat good food regularly and that starts with breakfast. Consuming healthy, nutrient dense foods to start out the day can promote a nutrient-rich diet overall. At the end of the day, it's the total number of calories that matters; whether you divide that into 3 meals or 6. As simple as the supply and demand theory, it’s about how much you’re putting into your body (supply) and how much you are burning (demand).
- Skipping breakfast
- Eating a high sugar breakfast cereal
- Eating a so called ‘breakfast bar’
- Carbohydrate on carbohydrate (Jam on bread)
- No fruit or vegetables
- No protein or healthy fats
- High sugar smoothie or juice
- Lack of water