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Why Breakfast is an Important Meal of the Day?

Dec, 2021 - By Tejaswini Kasture

Why Breakfast is an Important Meal of the Day?

A reputed author, Adrian Anthony Gill, once said that breakfast is everything; the beginning, the first thing after one wakes up, and it is the mouthful commitment to a new day, a continuing life.     

Breakfast

Breakfast is the morning meal of the day, a first meal eaten which literally means to break the fasting period of the prior night. Breakfast replenishes the stores of nutrients and energy in the body. The first mean of the day kick starts the body’s metabolism and helps to burn calories throughout the day. This meal also gives the body the required energy needed to focus at school or office and to get things done.

Why breakfast is important?

Breakfast replenishes the supply of glucose to boost alertness and energy levels by providing the vitamins and nutrients required for good health. Glucose is the main energy source for the body. Glucose is broken down and absorbed from carbohydrates. Most of the energy in the body is stored in the form of fat and glucose stored as glycogen. Some of it is stored in the muscles while most of it is in the liver. When one fasts or doesn’t eat food for a long period, the liver breaks down glycogen and releases it into the bloodstream as glucose to keeps the body’s blood sugar level stable. The brain and body mostly rely on glucose for energy hence this is most important for health. In the mornings, after the fasting period, the body’s glycogen storage is mostly low, and once this energy is used up, the body starts to break down fatty acids to produce the energy it needs. Fatty acids are only partially oxidized without carbohydrates that can reduce energy levels. Every day, breakfast boosts energy levels and restores glycogen levels which keeps metabolism active for the day. Body essentials require minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Breakfast is a key meal that provides essential nutrients such as calcium, folate, iron, fiber, and B vitamins. Breakfast also helps to control the body weight as it prevents large fluctuations in the blood glucose levels, thus helping in controlling the appetite. Moreover, breakfast boosts brainpower and keeps energy levels active which aids a healthy mental performance, and replenishes the ability to concentrate and be attentive. People who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:

  • Have better concentration and be more productive throughout the morning. This may be due to replenishing glucose, the brain's main energy source.
  • Control their weight: Eating breakfast may reduce hunger later in the day and it may help eaters to avoid junk foods at later meals.
  • Have more strength and endurance: People who eat breakfast, and thus have higher energy levels, may engage in more physical activity than many people who don't eat breakfast.
  • Have lower cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease: Research has shown that people who eat breakfast consume less dietary cholesterol than do people who don't eat breakfast.
  • Consume more vitamins and minerals and less fat and cholesterol during the day. Eating breakfast regularly may simply be an indicator of someone who adopts a low-calorie, low-fat diet.

Moreover, eating a regular breakfast reduces the Body Mass Index (BMI). The ratio of one’s weight to height is called BMI. This is a quick measurement of the body’s healthy weight. BMI above 25 can be estimated for an overweight person. A recent study in the U.S. analyzed that the health data of 50,000 people for over a period of seven years has found that those who made breakfast their largest meal of the day were more likely to have a lower BMI than those who ate a large lunch or dinner. Research at Rush University Medical Center has unveiled that although people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have a higher body mass index or BMI. This is because breakfast can help one feel fuller, and therefore reduce the daily calorie intake. It can also improve the quality of diet, as foods typically eaten at breakfast are often higher in fiber and nutrients.

Why it is called breakfast?

This compound is made up of two parts, break’ and ‘fast’. To fast means to go without food, so breakfast means to break the fast that is continuing since one went to sleep the night before.

The time between hitting the alarm and the pre-bed meal is usually the longest stretch of one’s body without fuel. Generally, one should eat within two hours of waking up because this habit can impact the level of blood sugar or glucose and the insulin that brings glucose cells to be used for generating energy inside the body.

Scientific Approach

According to the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day, as it provides sustenance and energy (i.e., calories) for whatever activities lie ahead. As nutritionist Adelle Davis has famously put it, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”  According to the latest study, one should be aiming to consume around 15–25% of our daily energy intake at breakfast i.e., 300–500 calories for women and 375–625 for men.

When to eat breakfast?

Usually one should eat breakfast within two hours of waking up. The sooner you eat breakfast after you wake up, the better it is for the metabolism. Breakfast helps in decreasing the appetite. Consuming breakfast first thing in the morning greatly decreases hunger and cravings throughout the day.

What to eat for breakfast?

A healthy breakfast has many benefits so try to avoid skipping it. Quick and easy recipes can boost the day and energy one needs to complete certain tasks.

Fresh fruits, fruit juices, low-fat shakes, raw nuts, wholegrain high-fiber cereals, oats, berries, smoothies made from fresh fruits or vegetables, natural yogurt, low-fat milk, boiled eggs, omelet, high-fiber toast or bagel with peanut butter, or a protein bar.

Easy breakfast recipes!

A high protein breakfast is really beneficial for the body as it increases muscle mass as more the muscle mass, more the calories are burned at rest, stays full longer, and boosts immune system.

  • Overnight Oats – Mix together 1/2 cup whole rolled oats and 1/2 cup milk (almond milk or coconut milk or cow milk) and add 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup and a pinch of salt, refrigerate the mixture overnight in an airtight container.
  • Homemade Granola – Mixture of whole rolled oats, chopped walnuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, sea salt, cranberries, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup.
  • Healthy Green Smoothie – blend 1 frozen banana, handfuls fresh spinach, ¼ cup fresh mint, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 2 ice cubes, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¾ cup almond or cashew milk.
  • Coffee Smoothie – Blend together 1 frozen banana, concentrated cold brew coffee, cinnamon, almond milk, ice cubes, vanilla protein powder.
  • Egg-white sandwich
  • Cottage cheese protein pancakes – needed ingredients are eggs, maple syrup, banana, vanilla extract, coconut oil, almond milk, oat flour, and cottage cheese.
  • Avocado toast with egg
  • Tofu Scramble
  • Veggies and sweet potato crust

What happens eventually if one starts skipping breakfast?

People who do not have breakfast may not meet their recommended daily intake of vitamins, fiber, iron, and minerals. A high risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes is observed in people who don’t have breakfast. Avoiding or skipping breakfast leads to a lack of concentration and an empty stomach. Skipping breakfast increases the potential for overeating due to an empty stomach and unsteady energy levels are generally seen in people who avoid their breakfast. Few people face problem to eat food in the morning, or food cannot be tolerated as the first thing in the morning, this might be because eating late nights last meals or lack of physical activity or breakfast food is not appealing. People generally also ignore their first meal of the day due to ‘I’m running-late’ reasons. All these could be overcome by reducing the size of meals in the evening and eating them earlier, researching new and easy recipes to increase breakfast appetite, or preparing easy foods before night.

In 2017, the American Diabetes Association researched and compared 18 people with and without diabetes. The study found that missing breakfast disrupted the circadian rhythms of both groups and led to larger spikes in blood glucose levels after eating.

When you eat breakfast you're telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be consumed for the day. When you skip breakfast, the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.

In conclusion, there really are a number of reasons as to why breakfast should be considered the most important meal of the day. The decision about if and what to eat and drink at the start of the day has been shown to have some profound effects on our health, well-being, and cognitive performance.

About the Tejaswini Kasture

Tejaswini Kasture

Tejaswini Kasture is a Computer Engineer with a passion for writing, blogging, dancing, sports, art & design, and Yoga. Although being an engineer, her forte is writing technology related blogs, she is able to write on varied subjects including Yoga and others.