Breakfast is often a topic of discussion in the public sphere and amongst health fanatics. There have been many debates that argue whether breakfast is important or not. Although everyone has their opinion or method it is apparent that eating breakfast can have a positive impact on an individual.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is a statement we are all accustomed to hearing. We are often told that we need to eat a hearty breakfast to prepare us for the day ahead. We have passed down these ideologies for generations, but do we really understand why breakfast is so important?
Today we will discuss the history of breakfast, its benefits, what happens to the body when you skip breakfast.
The purpose of breakfast is to break the fast and replenish your body’s glucose supply. By eating breakfast shortly after you wake up, you can increase your energy levels and be more alert. As well as providing essential nutrients, it maintains good health.
Brief History of Breakfast
Historically, breakfast was eaten in a formal setting during ancient Greek and Roman times. Their breakfasts were less demanding when compared to our meals and consisted of simple ingredients such as bread, honey, oil, and sometimes wine.
From its inception breakfast appeared to be a meal characterized by its convenience. More often than not the ingredients are chosen for this meal require no cooking or further preparation. This was important because, during this time individuals did not have a lot of time to spare, they had to attend to their crops and livestock.
At first, it was only considered a meal for infants, the debilitated, and those in the labor force. But, by the 16th century, this notion completely changed and the Europeans labeled breakfast as the most important meal of the day in regards to the overall health of humans.
For the most part, breakfast consisted of oats, rice, and other cereals. Shortly thereafter, cooked breakfast was then popularized and widely adopted by the US. However, many opposed the cooked breakfast. In fact, an organization called the Clean Living Movement strongly advocated against certain dietary recommendations such as meat and instead suggested increasing your intake of whole-grain foods.
Why is the meal so important?
Breakfast helps your body in many ways.
One of the most important is energy. If you do not have the energy it becomes difficult to do many things. The body’s energy source is glucose which comes from carbohydrates which are then broken down and absorbed. However, our bodies do not absorb all of it but store glucose in the form of glycogen mostly in our liver and the remainder in our muscles.
While you are sleeping, your liver converts the stored glycogen (in your liver and muscles) into glucose, then releases it into your bloodstream. Your body does this to ensure that your blood sugar levels remain stable while you sleep. This is crucial for our brains because they rely heavily on glucose for energy.
As a result, when you wake up your glycogen storage is low. If you have used all of your glycogen reserves your body attempts to replenish its energy supply. It does this by breaking down fatty acids to get glucose.
Ultimately, eating breakfast boosts your energy, replenishes your glycogen reserve, and helps keep your metabolism up throughout the day
2. Essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
There are a wide variety of nutrients in breakfast foods like folates (found in oranges, bananas, and strawberries) and calcium (found in kale). Whole grains, mushrooms, oats, and avocados are also high in these nutrients. Research has stated that people who eat breakfast are more likely to eat their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals than people who do not eat breakfast.
- 3. Breakfast helps you control your weight
Eating breakfast can help you control your weight because it mitigates large fluctuations in your glucose levels, which help control your appetite. Breakfast helps fill you before you get famished which means you are less likely to grab whatever (foods high in sugar or salt) is available to fill your stomach. Thus, you can eat more nutritious foods.
4. Breakfast boosts brainpower
Those who tend to skip breakfast may feel a bit sluggish and struggle to focus. This happens because your brain does not have sufficient glucose to function at its normal capacity. Studies suggest that skipping breakfast affects your mental performance which includes your attention span, your ability to focus and remember things. Ultimately, this can make some tasks feel impossible to complete or harder than they normally would.
Children who regularly eat breakfast tend to perform better academically when compared to those who skip this meal. Studies also suggest that they connect to authoritative figures more efficiently than those who skipped breakfast; which can lead to positive health and better academic outcomes.
5. A healthy breakfast may reduce the risk of illness
Those who regularly eat breakfast tend to have a lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular health.
6. Breakfast can help you make better food choices
People who eat breakfast tend to choose to eat healthier diets and adopt better eating habits. They are also less likely to be hungry throughout the day because they ate breakfast, which means they snack less. Also, individuals who do not eat breakfast tend to make poor food choices for the remainder of the day.
Although there is nothing wrong with having snacks; those who skip breakfasts tend to nibble on snacks that are low in fiber, minerals, and vitamins but are high in fat, sugar, and salt. This poses an issue because your body needs vitamins and minerals and if the snack is not provided it serves no purpose besides providing a little energy.
Ultimately these snacks are simply convenient pick-me-ups; however, they can have adverse effects on your health. If you do decide to skip breakfast try to pack or find healthy snack alternatives such as fruits, veggies, hummus, nuts, or yogurt.
Impact Skipping Breakfast can have on the body
Can Cause Migraines
After a long fasting period, the sugar levels in our bodies are low. The breakfast you consume normally provides nutrients and glucose that your body can use as energy. However, if you do not eat breakfast in the morning, the body releases various hormones to compensate for the sugar lost while you slept. This is called Hypoglycemia, although this process helps balance sugar levels; it has side effects. The sudden rise in your body’s blood pressure, it causes headaches and migraines.
Slows the metabolism
When you skip breakfast, your body slows itself down to preserve the fuel, which results in slow metabolism. Also, the prolonged fasting period from night till morning reduces the body’s ability to burn calories which can lead to fat accumulation. Whereas, having a healthy balanced meal in the morning helps to boost your metabolism and helps reduce weight.
Can lead to Obesity
Generally, individuals who skip breakfast eat dinner at a later time which results in abnormal metabolism. It is imperative to eat breakfast as it resets the body’s biological clock. Because you have been starving all night, avoiding food in the morning will cause your body to crave sugary and fatty foods to boost energy levels. If you skip breakfast, you can experience a nocturnal lifestyle pattern linked to obesity caused by a shift in your clock gene.
Recent studies have also found that skipping breakfast has detrimental effects on arterial stiffness and carotid atheromatic burden. Some reports have suggested that factors underlying the increase in the number of obese people, despite a decreasing average energy intake, include a greater decline in the average calories metabolized through physical activity and an increase in the number of people who skip breakfast and have dinner after 9 p.m.
Can increases chances of contracting type 2 Diabetes
The study also stated that individuals who skip breakfast only once a week are 6 percent more likely to develop type two diabetes. This number rose exponentially as the frequency of skipped meals increased. Individuals that skip breakfast four to five times a week are 55 percent more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes; when compared to individuals who eat breakfast daily.
Skipping breakfast can also lead to more insulin resistance, this is a condition that requires more insulin to bring the body’s blood sugar level into a normal range. If this condition is chronic, this becomes a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Failure to break your fast can also result in a rise in blood sugar after lunch and dinner and can impose excessive stress on your body.
This can lead to a decline in cardiovascular health
The American Heart Association released a statement that emphasized the important role meal timing and how often you eat are in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
A study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease reviewed the evidence regarding the connection between skipping breakfast and the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and all-cause death.
The study suggested that people who skip breakfast may be at greater risk of experiencing adverse health outcomes compared to people who regularly consume breakfast. People who skipped breakfast were about 21% more likely to suffer a CVD event or die from it, and 32% more likely to die from all causes than people who regularly ate breakfast.
The study suggests that eating breakfast can also be a marker of lifestyle patterns. For instance, people who tend to skip breakfast are more likely to smoke, exercise less, have low energy, eat dinner at irregular times, and consume more alcohol during the day.
Overall, nutrition plays a vital role in the maintenance of your health and you should take great pride in your body. Below we have some tips that can help you get on the right track.
Why don’t you eat breakfast?
Some individuals find it difficult to eat food in the morning. There could be several reasons for this. Perhaps they ate dinner very late, or they do not like typical breakfast foods, maybe they don’t have time to cook an appealing breakfast or they just don’t feel inclined to eat in the morning.
- Try to reduce the size of your meals in the evening.
- Eat dinner earlier so that you are hungrier in the morning
- Try looking up new recipes and filling your cupboards with a variety of food so that you can have a large selection of breakfast foods options to choose from.