Since we were kids, we've heard it a million times from our moms and the cardigan-wearing teachers at school: "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." We're told that our morning bowl of cereal boosts our metabolism. But does it really? Or have we just been duped all these years? Dr. Therese O'Sullivan, senior lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at Edith Cowan University, says there is no clear scientific evidence that breakfast significantly increases your metabolism. In fact, recent studies at the University of California, San Diego show that not eating first thing in the morning will keep your body in fat burning mode and regulate your blood sugar for the rest of the day.
I know this is mind-blowing, and you might feel conned. Hang with me for a second, though. Ruth Patterson, professor at USC, says we still need to eat breakfast — just not too early in the morning. Additionally, there is plenty of other research that sheds light on the many other benefits we gain from making ourselves an omelette before heading to work, even if it doesn't cause our metabolism to fly through the roof.
Read on for the top five reasons you should eat breakfast, according to science, not Mom.
1. It Helps You Maintain A Healthy Weight
If your goal is to shed a few pounds, don't skip the first meal of the day. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported on a study of 2,000 girls between the ages of nine and 19; the group who only ate breakfast occasionally had a 13 percent higher risk of being overweight than their counterparts, who ate every morning before school.
Nutrition educator Jill Weisenberger says that although there is no connection to a metabolism boost, there is certainly a link between weight management and a healthy, balanced meal in the morning. Those who enjoy a solid breakfast tend to have a lower body weight, and the other meals they eat in the day contain fewer calories.
2. You're Less Likely To Eat Junk During The Day
When you've filled your tummy with the proper nutrients — protein, fiber, complex carbs — in the morning, there is less of a chance that you will get caught up in noshing throughout the day. Dr. O'Sullivan says you will probably end up reaching for energy dense, less nutritious foods like potato chips and Twixes if you skip breakfast altogether.
Studies show that, in general, those who eat a well-rounded meal in the morning snack much less. And when 4 p.m. rolls around, your blood sugar drops, which makes us easy targets for junk food. Eating breakfast will help prevent that afternoon urge to overeat.
3. You'll Probably Exercise More
The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that people who regularly ate 700-calorie breakfasts were much more likely to move around, starting first thing in the morning. Whether they go to the gym or choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator, they are more mobile during the day than others.
Senior lecturer of nutrition and metabolism at the U.K.'s University of Bath, Dr. James Betts, said these individuals also burn more calories from doing light exercises during the day. Plus, they tend to keep more lean muscle than those who say no to a well-rounded breakfast.
4. It Makes You Healthier In General
When women were given two eggs to eat every morning for eight weeks, their cholesterol and triglyceride levels were better than those who either ate bagels or didn't eat at all. A study presented by the American Heart Association showed that breakfast eaters on average have excellent blood sugar levels and are at less risk for cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Hamid Farshchi at the University of Nottingham conducted a study that showed women who wait until noon to have their first meal show poor insulin sensitivity. Eventually, this leads to high blood sugar and could potentially result in Type 2 diabetes.
5. You'll Have More Energy
When breakfast is done right — no processed or packaged foods — it can boost your energy in the morning. You should go for a healthy mix of protein and complex carbohydrates, (like eggs or avocado on toast) which will help keep you satiated and alert. Add some antioxidant fruit and good-fat nuts to your organic yogurt in order to maximize nutrient intake.
Eating well in the morning prevents that mid-morning slump from happening as well, according to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. You'll be able to comprehensibly concentrate at work or school for a longer amount of time.
Add a coffee and you'll be unstoppable.
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