Breakfast - The most critically important meal of the day

Breakfast – Breaking the word down!

Breakfast --> Breaking the Fast. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.

Now this should be an eye opener for you if you are contemplating whether you should or should not be eating breakfast.

To keep it simple… Your body (physiologically and psychologically) has been fasting overnight (nil food or beverage – except if you are a bodybuilder who believes that you need protein during sleep or if you had a midnight snack/beverage), but for the majority of the population; your body has awakened in the morning and has been fasted. So what does actual logic tell you? Logic would tell you that your body has been fasted so we should provide a nutrient dense (healthy) meal that is balanced of a high protein, low glycaemic, healthy fat and fruit/vegetables.

What are the known benefits of eating breakfast?

• Break the overnight fast

• Refuel energy stores

• Stimulate metabolic processes

• Provides your body with energy to fuel the day ahead

• Improves energy production

• Reduces likelihood of overconsuming calories towards the latter part of the day

• Assists blood sugar management (stabilises blood sugar levels)

• Helps satiety (fullness)

What are the known disadvantages of not consuming breakfast?

• Irregular blood sugar levels

• Downregulated metabolic processes

• Cortisol (stress hormone) levels upsurge

• More susceptible to weight gain

• Decreased mental performance

• Increased risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol

Let us get a little more scientific to assist your nutritional knowledge why it would be extremely wise to consider consuming breakfast

The human body’s main fuel source is glucose, more importantly – the brain primary fuel source is…Glucose! Glucose is the primary source of energy for every cell in the human body. Glucose is broken down and absorbed/digested from carbohydrates. This is either used as energy or glycogen (stored carbohydrate). Glycogen is stored in predominantly the liver with a small amount in the muscles.

During times of fasting (not eating), the liver breaks down glycogen with releasing it into the blood stream as glucose to keep blood sugar levels stabilised. In the A.M, after the body has fasted; glycogen levels are on the low side. Once glycogen stores have been used by the body, your physiology will begin to break down fatty acids for energy production. HOWEVER, without carbohydrates, fatty acids are only partially oxidised; which can substantially reduce your energy stores.

Eating a wholesome breakfast enhances energy production with restoring glycogen levels to fuel your day ahead. As mentioned above as the brain’s primary fuel source is glucose; if the brain has not been provided this; research has shown that one’s mental performance is also negatively affected with suboptimal levels of being able to concentrate, focus and impaired memory.

Although there has been more traction for training first thing in the morning fasted, intermittent fasting and skipping breakfast; from a logical point of view I want my clients being as physiologically and psychologically healthy as possible. If evidence has shown that skipping breakfast can have negative side effects; I take note as this as a nutritional medicine practitioner. I for one will be recommending a nutrient dense diet for every single one of my clients!