You have probably heard about the importance of breakfast since your earliest years. One thing we know from research is not just any breakfast is a good start to the day. Our bodies need a balanced breakfast. You know what I mean? As a pre-teen I had no problem sitting down to a bowl of Lucky Charms or Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries. As a matter of fact, I had a party in the early 1970’s when they finally came up with the Crunch Berries only cereal!
In The Men’s Health Big Book of Food and Nutrition (Weber & Zimmerman) we are told to “think of your first meal of the day as the foundation of your dietary success.” All my life I heard that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and a whole slew of other statements that I was just supposed to accept and believe. One of the best parts of being on Biggest Loser was that we were told the why’s of nutrition and healthy habits.
The nutrition manager for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School, Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, states, “When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually fasting for 15-20 hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight” (Davis).
One of the facts that I came across is that women who do not eat breakfast are almost five times more likely to be obese than women who do (Michaels). On Biggest Loser I was told by my trainer, Brett Hoebel, that in order to jump-start my metabolism I needed to have breakfast within the first 45 to 60 minutes of waking. To put it quite simply, when we do not eat, it signals our body that we are in energy saving mode and our metabolism slows. This is like when a computer screen dims when not in use. Our bodies don’t “dim” when we eat breakfast, thus we will burn more calories through the day. Eating breakfast is like stoking a steam engine: we are adding fuel to the fire, and it burns more calories the rest of the day.
One other article (Zerasky) states that eating a health breakfast regularly helps us to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight by 1) reducing hunger, 2) starting the day with healthy choices and 3) providing energy. The ideas here are that eating a healthy breakfast allows us to get started in a healthy way which sets the tone for the rest of the day. We move through the day and we are not starving and have the energy we need to work, play, and think clearly.
Joel Weber and Mike Zimmerman, The Men’s Health Big Book of Food & Nutrition (New York, NY: Rodale Inc., 2011) p. 14.
Jeanie Lerche Davis, reviewed by Louise Change, MD. Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast, WebMD.com, August 31, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/loseweight-eat-breakfast.
Jillian Michaels, Master Your Metabolism (New York: Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2009) p. 154.
Katherine Zerasky, RD, LD. Does Eating a Healthy Breakfast Help Control?, MayoClinic.org, January 30, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthylifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20058449.