Roll your eyes if you want, but the message about breakfast being the most important meal of the day is true (mostly). Those eating breakfast tend to have better diets overall, consuming more fruit, vegetables, milk, and whole grains than non-breakfast eaters. Read More…
The time between dinner and the next morning’s meal is the longest your body goes without food. The way breakfast influences you is different from any other meal. Eating within 2 hours of waking can make a difference how you metabolize glucose, or blood sugar, throughout the day. Your glucose level rises every time you eat, and your pancreas produces insulin to shuttle the glucose into your cells, where it’s used for energy. Research is finding that keeping glucose and insulin in the right balance has important effects on your metabolism and health.
“After a healthy breakfast your blood sugar increases a little bit, but it will take a while for your body to absorb it,” says Eric Rimm, Sc.D., a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “So, you might not be hungry for lunch for 5 hours.”
If you don’t eat breakfast the prolonged fasting might lead to a bigger than normal boost in “hunger hormones”, such as ghrelin, encouraging you to overeat at your next meal and leading to spikes and dips in glucose and insulin. What you eat is equally important. If your preference of breakfast is sugary cereal and a glass of fruit juice or a doughnut and a cup of coffee with 4 spoons of sugar or a latte with 8 pumps of caramel syrup you’re setting the stage for metabolic chaos. Fortunately, breakfast can be flavorful, diverse, and healthy. There are plenty of traditional breakfast foods that taste great and are good for you such as eggs, Greek yogurt, berries, veggies, cereal, etc. Check out some recipes here.
This is your body on breakfast
Findings from a study called the ‘Bath Breakfast Project’ at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom demonstrates the effect that morning meals have on glucose balance. (See graphic below.) Researchers asked a group of participants to eat 700 or more calories by 11 a.m. and another to fast until after noon. Both groups could eat whenever and whatever they wanted the rest of the day. Blood sugar was monitored every 5 minutes.
Even though the two groups ate similarly after noon, the ones who skipped breakfast had bigger spikes and drops in glucose levels. The breakfast eaters improved their insulin sensitivity (the body’s response to rises in glucose) by 10 %. “Eating breakfast seems to have a ‘second-meal effect,’ says James Betts, Ph.D., the lead researcher and a senior lecturer in nutrition and metabolism. “It primes your metabolism to maintain stable blood sugar levels after subsequent meals.”
Reach out to us if you have questions, need advice or ideas. Happy breakfast!