It’s the most important meal of the day. You’ve heard this phrase before, probably hundreds of times. You may have touted it to others, while hiding behind a guilty grin. Or perhaps you’ve nervously laughed (or cried a little) on the inside, when this age-old saying briefly echoed in your mind just before you scarfed down the only breakfast in sight – which just so happened to be a glistening, sugary glazed donut at 10 am from the pastry box in the office lounge.
Break your fast
The term breakfast comes from the word “fast,” as in fasting, or not eating. When you wake up in the morning you’ve probably gone at least 7 hours if not more without eating. Imagine how you feel 7 hours into the work day without food? Hungry? Tired? Irritated? Is this how you want to start your day? Of course not! So having breakfast means you’re literally breaking your fast, and having a well-balanced breakfast is very important because it’ll give your body the first dose of slow-burning energy it needs to stay productive and metabolically stable until lunch.
Starvation, snacking and getting fat
When your body goes for long periods without food, and then you scarf down something like that glazed donut at 10am, your insulin levels will rapidly rise, which will then signal your body to store fat- even though you’re not particularly well fed. So now you’re starving and you’re storing fat!! But all this is easily avoided when you take the time to eat a more balanced (namely high protein, high healthy fat) breakfast first thing in the morning. You break your fast, you feed your body the 2 best macronutrients to control hunger (i.e protein and fat), and you prevent the vicious cycle of starvation, junk food consumption and insulin spiking.
But there’s more reason to eat a balanced breakfast. Here’s another interesting fitness tidbit you may or may not have heard of: Metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that can lead to other illnesses like obesity, heart disease, and insulin resistance. And researchers have found that starting your day with a healthy dose of calories (from breakfast), may result in decreased risk of metabolic syndrome because insulin levels become more stable throughout the day and you’re also less likely to graze on random junk food when you start the day with breakfast.
Mind you, breakfast is not a necessity to lose weight and improve overall health. If you’ve heard of intermittent fasting, or practiced intermittent fasting, you certainly know this to be true. However, time and time again studies have shown that when healthy and fit people do eat breakfast, it is a nutritious and balanced one like what I described earlier.
So how do you construct a more nutritious and balanced breakfast?
Here’s the most simple way to break it down: When shooting for a balanced breakfast, I’d go for something that contains a 60:30:10 macronutrient ratio of healthy fats, to protein to carbs. You don’t have to hit this ratio exactly, but try to stay close to it. The key is to keep protein and healthy fat high, while keeping refined carbs (and sugar) low. Countless studies have shown that people who eat a breakfast that’s high in protein and healthy fats (think eggs) are better able to lose weight and stay slim, when compared to those who eat a more carb heavy (especially refined carb heavy) breakfast- think cereal.
So if your goal is to get in a balanced breakfast, remember precisely what that means. And overall, a more balanced breakfast is indeed more in favor of protein and healthy fats. This is the type of breakfast you want to keep insulin levels low, metabolism up, and your body adequately fueled until lunch.
Do you eat breakfast? What is your typical breakfast? – Doc