Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

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I have read about it and discussed it numerous times. I highly recommend it. “It” is eating breakfast.

I have long been a proponent of eating breakfast. When discussing the topic with patients I always mention a study that concluded that those skip breakfast are 80% more likely to become obese than those who do eat breakfast.

From what I have read from studies, and what I have observed anecdotally, breakfast sets the stage for how we feel throughout the day. Eating breakfast can affect concentration, focus, energy levels, food cravings, and more throughout the day. Eating breakfast can set us up for having a lethargic, hum drum day or having a high energy, feel good day.

Skipping breakfast will cause the body to go into a starvation state. It will extend the fast from nighttime  through to the next meal. This can cause the body to prepare for an upcoming fast. When a body is preparing for a fast, whatever food you eat will be stored as fat to prepare for starvation. So whatever food you eat after fasting all night will be stored as fat instead of burned for energy.

For every point there is a counter point. One of the cool aspects of the human body is that everyone is so different. There is a saying in anatomy that we are as different on the inside as we are on the outside. I use this saying to demonstrate how vastly different we can all be on the inside. This means that even though something will affect one person one way, it may affect someone else completely differently.

This happens with medications. Two people can react completely different to the same medication. We all have different body chemistry.

This pertains to eating breakfast. Even though, for most people, eating breakfast is the right thing, breakfast is not for everyone.

Starving yourself overnight and then skipping breakfast will cause most people to store food as fat and then to binge when they finally do eat. But others are doing it purposely in order to control their weight and positively affect their  health.

Some people are using intermittent fasting to control their weight. I personally do not like fasting. I always get sick to my stomach when I don’t eat. I don’t like the feeling. I am able to control my health and weight through proper eating and exercising, without making myself uncomfortable and nauseas through fasting.

Recently there has been a movement of people who use intermittent fasts to positively affect their health. An intermittent fast is when someone will purposely skip breakfast and not eat until lunchtime. Some people will skip breakfast and lunch, only eating dinner. People report better weight control, lower triglyceride levels, reduced blood pressure, reduced oxidative stress, increased metabolism, etc.

For some people, this approach has many positive health benefits. I feel that this approach will not be good for most people. When most people skip a meal, they will more than make up for the lack of calories later on in the day. Their blood sugar will drop and they will eat anything that can raise their blood sugar, and energy levels, back up. Most of us will not have the self control to moderate how much we eat after fasting. I know that if I skip a meal, I will overeat at the following meal.

There definitely are those of us who are not breakfast people. Some people get sick to their stomach if they eat breakfast. If you are like that, then don’t try to force breakfast down your throat in the morning. Try to eat something substantial later in the morning. Something like an apple, banana, whole wheat bread and nut butter, yogurt, nuts, vegetables, fruit, etc. If you can eat something small 2 hours or so before lunch, you will be less likely to binge and overeat at lunch, or at dinner.

For most of us, eating breakfast will set the tone for our energy levels, metabolism, and concentration for the day. Eating a good, substantial, healthy, nutritious breakfast will keep us satisfied for hours. It will keep our metabolism revved. It will give us energy to last throughout the day. It will give you a good nutritional base for the day.

Breakfast isn’t for everyone, but it will positively benefit most of us. If you eat intelligently then there is no reason to starve yourself. If you eat intelligently then you can eat all of the foods you want to without feeling deprived. Make nutrition work for you, don’t be a slave to your food. Eating breakfast will be good for most of us. Use it to your advantage. It is the Pain Free Way.

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