Why is Breakfast so Important?*

Tuesday, 3 January 2017, By Kimberley Hinschen

Everyone has no doubt heard "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" once or twice, but why is it so important?

Your brain:

The human brain is an electrical storm with 86 million neurons firing constantly to create thoughts, emotions and mental images. With such an intense job, the brain consumes approximately 250-300 calories a day; meaning feeding your brain is very important!

When it comes to food the brain has a favourite, like most of us, and that is glucose. The easiest way for the body to create glucose is by metabolising carbohydrates. Thus, if you cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely your brain will find it very hard to focus and your cognitive function will suffer. Even more importantly, if you skip breakfast (which should contain approximately 30% of your daily carbohydrates) you will start your day off with a blurred brain which will make work very difficult.

Metabolism:

The metabolism is affected by 3 factors; exercise, thermic effect of food and resting metabolism. The type of breakfast you have, as well as the time you have it will affect all of these things.

As your body burns carbohydrates as the number one fuel source, exercising prior to breakfast will force your body to use fat stores as fuel as you won't have consumed complex carbohydrates for the past 12 - 18 hours. This exercise can affect your metabolism by 15%.

When you eat your core body temperature rises to assist in the breakdown of foods, this is known as the thermic effect. Including spices (cinnamon), and high fibre foods (oats, wholemeal toast) into your breakfast can boost this percentage. This process can affect your metabolism by 15%.

The remaining 70% of your metabolism is known as your resting metabolism; which is the amount of energy your body requires to perform normal everyday functions. 80% of this is dependent on how much lean muscle mass you have. There are two key ways to build muscle mass; consuming adequate amounts of protein, and weights/resistance training. In order to increase your protein consumption, particularly at breakfast, you should include things such as eggs, Greek yoghurt and low fat ham/bacon.

*Extra benefits of regular breakfast

  • Stabilises your blood sugar levels, thus steadying your energy levels
  • Provides many beneficial nutrients, and boosts your fibre and calcium intake
  • Reduces you chance of over-consuming high kilojoule foods later in the day

*Healthy breakfast options

  • Wholegrain toast with avocado and spinach, reduced fat ricotta or boiled/poached eggs
  • Porridge or fruit free muesli with fresh fruit
  • Wholegrain cereals with reduced fat milk/Greek yoghurt

 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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