There are numerous reasons why many of us skip breakfast and a survey commissioned by food giants Kraft has shown that a huge 20 million Brits do it daily. Some of us believe it will help us to lose weight, others are not hungry and the majority of us have such busy schedules that we simply don’t have the time to fill our tummies in the morning.
As one of the most important meals of the day skipping breakfast can starve the body of the much needed nutrients it requires for the day ahead and we may be doing more harm than good.
“Skipping breakfast throws off the normal circadian rhythm of fasting and feeding. Breakfast is the worst time to skip a meal,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a nutrition expert at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston. If you skip breakfast your body is more likely to hold on to excess fat to protect itself which is why “breaking the fast” is essential.
Cravings can be increased for fatty and sugary foods
Research has shown that those who skip breakfast are more inclined to crave sugary and fatty foods during the day which can lead to weight gain. A study conducted at Imperial College London used 21 subjects to conduct an experiment on brain reward systems towards high-calorie foods. On the day where the participants skipped breakfast there was on average a 20% increase in the amount of food they consumed during their lunchtime meal and the desire for higher calorie food (such as chocolates, desserts, cakes, pizzas and burgers).
Skipping breakfast can increased hunger throughout the day
Skipping breakfast in the morning can lead to increased food intake later in the day during lunch and dinner. It has been reported that if you eat a healthy balanced breakfast you are less likely to overeat throughout the day which can result in obesity.
By missing breakfast our bodies may experience constant hunger signals causing us to eat more than we need, along with the risk of us making bad food choices when it comes to meal time.
Blood Sugar Inconsistency
Skipping the first meal of the day can also have an effect on the blood sugar levels in your body. When you skip meals your blood sugar levels fall and this inconsistency can make it difficult for your body to metabolize food leading to weight gain.
Eating at regular intervals will keep your metabolic rate up and prevent the body going into starvation mode where it expends fewer calories. Also controlling blood sugar levels in your body can reduce the risk of developing diabetes over time so eating a well-balanced breakfast can benefit overall health as well as aiding weight loss.
Protein rich Breakfast can reduce cravings and overeating
Protein is an essential nutrient in keeping our bodies active, strong, and healthy. A University of Missouri researcher found that eating a protein-rich breakfast reduced cravings and overeating throughout the day.
During the study Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure brain activity in specific regions of the brain relating to food motivation and targeted breakfast skipping teens.
Over the course of three weeks the participants either continued to skip breakfast or ate a 500 calorie breakfast containing a healthy quantity of protein. Just before lunch, each participant completed a brain scan to identify their brain activity responses. The results showed that brain activity in the areas controlling food motivation and reward were reduced when protein rich breakfasts had been consumed in the morning.
“Incorporating a healthy breakfast containing protein-rich foods can be a simple strategy for people to stay satisfied longer, and therefore, be less prone to snacking,” Leidy said.
Some high protein breakfasts may include food such as: eggs, quinoa, cottage cheese, sausage, bacon nuts and beans. Consuming a good balance of protein, carbs, healthy fat and essential nutrients at breakfast time will help you to maintain a healthy weight, body and mind.
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