We’ve been told for years that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but is this mantra actually true?
Scientific studies reveal that skimping on breakfast can have many negative effects on your body. Taking a few minutes to eat something healthy will really make a positive difference in your day. We’ve rounded up seven of the latest studies on the benefits and surprising specifics everyone should know about the importance of breakfast. Turns out, the answer isn’t quite as clear-cut as we once thought it was.
1. It wakes up your system
Your body is in a mild fasting state in the morning upon waking. A good breakfast is a gentle way to start your system, getting it back into digestion mode, which sends energizing nutrients all over your body.
If you refrain from eating breakfast, your body won’t burn off calories, and will instead try to conserve energy. Eating a healthy breakfast speeds up your metabolism and makes it work harder.
A good breakfast doesn’t have to ruin your budget. Instead, try these 8 deliciously cheap breakfast ideas for under $1 each!
2. It fuels your brain
The first meal of the day breaks evening fasting and kickstarts your brain and body processes. Eat the right stuff for breakfast and you’ll set your system into high gear.
A study including 319 adolescents found that those who ate a high-energy breakfast scored better on short-term memory tests. Our brains are fueled by glucose, and after a night of resting the brain is ready for a fresh supply. Blood sugar levels also affect concentration and memory, and a study in The Journal of Nutrition found that breakfast eaters are more likely to have stable blood sugar levels. One more reason why eating breakfast is not only good for the body, but for the brain too!
Breakfast doesn’t have to be all about the sweets. If you’re more of a savory fan, try these 7 savory breakfast recipes!
3. It can keep your cravings at bay
Eating a nutritious breakfast can help you avoid the temptation of snacking on unhealthy food throughout the day. If your blood sugar is low, you may be more tempted to grab a mid-morning sugary snack.
A 2012 study in the Journal of Neuroscience found that skipping breakfast increased the appeal of high calorie foods. The study also highlighted the fact that people who eat breakfast are less likely to overfill themselves at later meals. Grab a quick and healthy breakfast to keep your daytime cravings at bay.
4. Eating breakfast can help you lose weight
If you’re trying to drop a few pounds, it may seem counter-intuitive to eat in the morning. The less calories in, the better — right? That’s not actually the case.
Starving yourself throughout the day generally only leads to overconsumption of calories later in the afternoon. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who skip breakfast are four-and-a-half times more likely to be obese. We’re not talking a mammoth-sized breakfast of stacked pancakes, bacon, and hash browns, but a moderate amount of food like a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries or eggs with whole grain toast.
Eating breakfast can help you meet your diet goals, so why not try these 8 light and healthy breakfast ideas?
5. But only if you eat right
The foods you eat at breakfast have a direct affect on your energy levels throughout the day. If you load up on a big bowl of high-sugar cereal, your blood sugar levels become unstable. You’ll find yourself hungry a short time after eating, and will want more sugar to get your blood sugar levels back up. This can be a vicious cycle.
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children who ate high sugar cereal for breakfast consumed more overall sugar throughout the day. To prevent these peaks and dips in your blood sugar, you need to eat a high protein, low carb breakfast, which will kickstart a hunger-free day and keep your blood sugar in check.
Need some more ideas for healthy food to munch on throughout the day? Try these 7 skinny foods!
6. It may make you more tired
Excessive carbohydrate consumption is directly related to insulin resistance, which is an increasing health issue in our country. Aside from that, high carb meals may actually encourage that feeling of sluggishness and sleepiness. Who wants to feel tired after eating breakfast?
In one study, subjects who ate a high protein breakfast improved satiety throughout the day. Which is why more and more nutritionists recommend adding high quality protein to your breakfast, such as eggs or nuts with your oatmeal. The right kinds of food can keep you energized all morning, and make it less likely for you to splurge on treats later on.
7. The answer is different for everyone
At the end of the day, breakfast can be a great way to fuel your day. But only if your body really needs it. If you wake up and just don’t feel like eating, don’t force it. Some people need a few hours of slowly waking up before getting any food down. Skipping breakfast won’t kill you, but enjoying a healthy meal in the morning can offer tremendous health benefits.
Are you a breakfast eater? Or does skipping the morning meal work better for you? Weigh in below and let us know. We’d love to have you join the discussion.