The most important meal of the day
All of us have heard many times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And, it’s true. It’s right there in the name – breaking the overnight fast. In today’s busy schedule the problem with eating breakfast is that people are in a hurry and are running low on time, so the first thing they give the least priority is breakfast. But by skipping this important meal of the day we invite many health problems. Therefore, lets understand why we should think again when we choose to skip breakfast.
Eating breakfast regularly helps to promote greater health, including weight control, heart health, cognitive functions, cholesterol & diabetes management and many more.
When you skip the most important meal of the day you’re missing out on important nutrients and calories that your body requires to get you through your active morning hours. Normally your body burns calories as energy, but when it doesn’t get sufficient calories, it forces your body to mimic starvation mode and it begins to burn stored fat; this sounds like a good and useful thing if you want to loose weight. But if you go regularly too long without food, your body begins to break down muscle to use as energy and this may happen to muscle loss, which we can call an ‘unhealthy’ weight loss.
What will happen if you skip Breakfast?
Slow Metabolism –
People who eat breakfast regularly have a higher level of resting metabolism. When you skip meals, your body will slow its basal metabolic rate and stops working fast in order to conserve fuel to compensate for calorie restriction. “Prolonged fasting will further reduce the body’s functioning to burn calories and impact the amount of fat and other essential nutrients.
Overeating leads to Weight Gain –
When you skip breakfast your body is deficient in calories and other essential nutrients and it can make you overeat throughout the day. And when you are hungry, you often crave sugary, fatty foods. So, if you ignore your hunger in your morning hours, it will kick in eventually and you will consume extra and overeating and will lead to weight gain. People who regularly eat breakfast tend to avoid overeating in the rest of the day. People who skip breakfast tend to overeat at subsequent meals, consuming more calories during the most sedentary hours of the day without realizing that they take in more calories in one sitting than in three planned meals. Studies reported that breakfast consumption improves overall diet quality and beneficial effect on appetite regulation, which would help to prevent overeating and subsequent obesity.
Risk of Type 2 Diabetes increases –
Skipping the morning meal is linked with impaired glucose tolerance and that is further associated with the development of prediabetes and diabetes. The theory is when we fast for a long time and then eat a lot there are irregular blood sugars spikes and that occurs because when we’re hungry there is a strain on the body, which can lead to insulin resistance. A study found that those who avoid eating breakfast are at 20 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Bad Moods and Low Energy Levels-
There is a connection between food intake and the balance of neurotransmitters like Serotonin and dopamine produced by the brain which regulates feelings and mood. Skipping meals elevates stress on the body and stress affects dopamine and serotonin levels. Eating breakfast has a more positive mood and supports happy feelings. Skipping breakfast will lead to a drop in blood sugar causes irritability, along with fatigue and headache that can further worsen your mood.
Affects Cognitive Functioning-
Skipping breakfast will not provide essential nutrients to the brain, as your brain runs on glucose, the drop in blood sugar from a long fasting state can affect your cognitive function. It is important to get the right amount of carbohydrates for breakfast to optimize cognitive focus and memory and better visual accuracy because carbohydrate breaks down into glucose. It has been also shown in many studies that school children do better in studies when they’ve had breakfast.
Skipping breakfast will cause a massive dip in your sugar levels since you are generally fasting throughout the night while you sleep. This triggers the release of hormones that can compensate for the low glucose levels and your blood pressure is often raised at this point, this could trigger headaches.
Bad for Heart Health-
As mentioned above, skipping breakfast is one of the reasons for obesity and it is directly related to systemic inflammation and atherosclerosis. Remaining in a fasting state for longer is stressful for body and makes it work harder, causing metabolic changes are associated with an increased risk of the hardening and narrowing of arteries or atherosclerosis due to a build-up of plaque inside the arteries (fatty deposits, along with cholesterol and other forms of cellular waste build up), according to the study paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It has been also found in a study from Harvard University that men who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent greater risk of heart attack or heart disease.
Make your breath smell bad-
On fasting for a longer time, eating helps scrub your tongue of bacteria stimulated by saliva production which can make your morning breath more tolerable. Stinky bacteria continue to stay in your mouth if you skip your breakfast.
How should be your Breakfast?
Food habits or likes/dislikes can be according to an individual’s cultural, social and psychological daily life routines. Including dietary protein in breakfast suppresses appetite and provides satiety between meals. Eating a healthy breakfast with an adequate amount of combination of high protein and carbohydrates can help manage your appetite throughout the day. People who eat a high-protein breakfast tend to eat fewer calories overall during the day compared to people who eat only a high-carbohydrate breakfast. Feeling satisfied after a healthy breakfast can put you on the right track. Try to avoid make worse food choices when you are hungry- don’t go for sugary pastries or simple carbs—choose healthy proteins like eggs, pulses, curd and healthy fats like dry fruits, oil seeds etc. with a combination of complex carbs like whole grains, Banana. But, sometimes if you are not feeling like eating or truly not hungry in the morning, listen to your body and try eating something light, such as a piece of fruit or no-sugar-added yogurt.
You can always take help of your Nutritionist to plan a healthy breakfast for you.
Stay Healthy…Stay Happy