Five Big Reasons to Eat a Better Breakfast

Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that only 40 percent of adults say they eat breakfast at all.   The most common choice, of course, is cold cereal with milk — chosen by nearly a third of all adult breakfast eaters, according to an ABC poll. We can do better and here’s why we should; a better breakfast can help you:

1. Set a good metabolic pace for the day

When you skip breakfast, you may feel ravenous later and be tempted to reach for a quick fix — such as vending machine candy or doughnuts at the office. In addition, the prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body’s insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain. In fact, skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity.  Eating early in the day keeps us from “starvation eating” later on. But it also jump-starts your metabolism, says Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School. “When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight.”

2. Make healthier food choices all day.

Eating breakfast may get you on track to make healthy choices all day. When you eat breakfast, you tend to eat a healthier overall diet, one that is more nutritious and lower in fat. When you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to skip fruits and vegetables the rest of the day, too.

3.  Have more energy.

Eating breakfast may give you energy, increasing your physical activity during the day. A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your muscles with immediate energy. Skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity.

4.  Reduce risk of certain diseases.

Better breakfast eating, particularly high-fiber foods, is shown in some studies to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even intestinal polyps and colon cancer.  Studies also suggest “that breakfast frequency and quality may be related in causal ways to appetite controls and blood sugar control, supporting the hypothesis that the breakfast meal and its quality may have important causal implications for the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

5.  Think clearer and behave better.

Several national studies consistently confirm that breakfast helps kids concentrate, think, behave and learn.  Might work for adults too, what d’ya think?  A better breakfast:

  • Improves children’s classroom performance, including better test scores and grades
  • Increases children’s ability to focus and concentrate on school work
  • Decreases behavior problems, tardiness and visits to the school nurse
  • Increases attendance rates

And this of course begs the question – what do you mean by a “better breakfast”  hmmm?  Most breakfasts are unbalanced.  Refined grains and sugar, uh most boxed cereals, are full of high glycemic carbohydrates and not much else.  To achieve “better” breakfast needs to include foods where fiber, protein and fat are also present, not just carbs.  And let’s think outside the cereal box.  Way outside.  Take cues from other cultures summarized in this swell article “Rethinking Breakfast Conventions” by Eli Penberthy where she reviews breakfast around the world – soups, fish, beans, even pickles.

Plan ahead and start the day in a way that will make you feel GRRRRRREAT. What’s your better breakfast look like?

6 thoughts on “Five Big Reasons to Eat a Better Breakfast

  1. I’ve found all these to be true. I have been the non-breakfast eater since jr. high. Breakfast made my stomach uncomfortable. I’ve spent the last couple months working on my approach to food (habits of a lifetime … ) and believe I’ve found a way that’s right for me. And, WOW, I DO feel better. Whad’yaknow?
    BTW the “Eat like a Queen in the morning, a Princess (a healthy one) in the afternoon and a Pauper in the evening” approach is working for me.

  2. I love soaked steel cut oats cooked in the crockpot. I get it ready at night and all of us (mom, dad, two kids) eat it in morning. It is ready and hot when I walk downstairs. Mmm. I began the Feeding the Whole Family recipe with dates (plus I add raisins, and a cinnamon stick), but I do it in the crockpot. (Water-oats ratio: 4-1; old manual crockpot plugged into timer in wall set to turn on at 1 am and off at 6 am. Perfect oatmeal. Add oil of choice). And then on Saturdays we have pancakes as our way to break up the monotony (also Cynthia’s recipe! the blender pancakes).

  3. You can just imagine the looks I get when people hear that my regular gluten-free breakfast is brown rice, salmon, figs ( that I’ve canned from my garden with no sugar added), and hot tea! But it has worked for me for years. I also enjoy a good cup of coffee when I get to my office and really don’t get hungry until lunch. Another benefit is that my joints aren’t creaking so much thanks to all of that good fish oil!

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