5 Reasons Why You Should Never Miss Breakfast
We've all heard that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," but millions of Americans still skip breakfast every morning. Mornings become hectic and it's easy to see why breakfast doesn't always make it into the time crunched schedule. Study after study, of both children and adults, show that people who eat breakfast regularly tend to weigh less on average, than those that skip the first meal of the day.
Before I became a "clean eater" I never ate breakfast. I pretty much just ate two meals a day, which is the total opposite of how I eat now. Once I started eating breakfast, I saw a huge change in the way my body was responding to my workouts and I actually lost the extra weight I had been fighting to get off.
Finding a breakfast that is easy to make or prepare ahead of time is critical to being able to maintain the routine of eating breakfast. If it becomes too difficult to prepare during the morning rush, the habit will soon be dropped. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day, it's just easier for me not to have to think about a new meal every morning. It packs over 30 grams of protein into less than 300 calories. This keeps me feeling full for a long time and it fuels my body with what it needs to start my day. These two things are really the key to successfully adopting a breakfast routine into your schedule: It must be easy to prepare or premake, and it should be packed with lean protein.
Still not convinced that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day? Here are 5 reasons why I never miss breakfast and neither should you!
Hunger = Bad Decisions
As I mentioned above, studies show that those who skip breakfast regularly tend to be more overweight and have a higher BMI overall. Part of the reason for that, is that being hungry equals bad food choices, which usually end up being snacks and meals higher in sugar and fat. Avoiding cravings are critical for weight loss and maintenance, because that hunger is what drives us to make bad decisions and overeat. Meal choices become emotional choices, instead of healthy choices.
I used to think that by skipping breakfast, I was limiting the calories I was eating, but unfortunately that backfired on me regularly. By the time lunch came along....I was starving! I would end up eating more calories in one meal than I would with two healthy meals. By starting out the day with a protein filled breakfast, I feel full longer and don't make bad meal choices once lunchtime hits. It's a win - win! I feel more satisfied and actually eat better foods to fuel my body.
I find that by eating breakfast, I am much more productive with my mornings. Starting my day off fueled, sends a message to my brain and the rest of my body that it's time to start the day, and research shows this to be true. There have been numerous studies that have shown the impact that missing breakfast has had on school children, and the evidence was clear, which is why breakfasts were added to public school cafeterias. Having breakfast in the morning made the students more productive and able to concentrate better.
Consider just the effect that lack of concentration has on productivity, when you are hungry it draws your attention from the task at hand, let alone how lack of energy negatively impacts productivity. There are also nutritional benefits that are occurring on a cellular level which also make it clear that breakfast helps make you more productive.
When you work out doing resistance or strength training, the body's response is to break down muscle protein, which is why eating protein immediately following a workout is so important. But that's not the only time protein in needed. The body continues metabolizing its muscle protein after weight lifting or a hard workout for 24-48 hours. If during that time period, you do not eat more protein than the body metabolizes, the result will be a negative balance which leads to a catabolic state, which essentially is muscle loss. There has to be a positive protein balance consumption to continue to create and repair muscle (1).
Even if you eat your post workout meal containing protein, but go from dinner until lunch the next day without eating (for example 7pm until 12 noon), that is 17 hours the body is going without protein to continue the repair of the muscles. Honestly, even without the protein metabolism, 17 hours is a long time to go without any nutrition, period - whether you have strength trained or not.
Get All the Recommended Nutrition for the Day
This one isn't hard to figure out. If you take out an entire meal, it will be hard to get all the good and healthy nutrients your body needs to be its very best. Studies show that people who eat breakfast have higher calcium and fiber intakes, and eat less overall fat during the day.
They tend to make healthier food choices, which means that nutritional needs are met. Skipping breakfast usually results in higher calories from sugar too, which is something wise to to avoid because of all the negative effects sugar has on the body, like inflammation and weight gain.
Jump Start Metabolism
Probably the biggest advantage that people love is that it jumps starts their metabolism and they tend to burn more calories throughout the day. That is another reason why those who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those that do not. The body stores more fat when it is unsure when its next meal is coming, and it slows down your metabolism to preserve what nutrients it has available. Eating a healthy breakfast signals the body to start working again, it has nutrients available for daily function. When the body goes 17 hours without any source of nutrition, it's not hard to understand why it slows the metabolism down.
Eating breakfast during the hectic morning can feel like a luxury, but with a little preplanning, you can make it a habit. Try making it a priority for the next two weeks to have breakfast every day and see if you don't feel better and see positive results like more energy and productivity. There is a reason why we have always heard it was the most important meal of the day - it is!