BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT TO:
– Break the fast after not eating for more than 8 hours of sleeping
– Kick start your metabolism
– Provide nutrients such as carbs, proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals
– Prevent weight gain and becoming overweight
– Improves mental performance for better concentration and memory
The word breakfast means ‘breaking the fast’ as you are eating something for the first time since the previous night and have been in a fasting state1. A paper by Timlin defined breakfast as “the first meal of the day, eaten before or at the start of daily activities within 2 hours of waking, typically no later than 10:00 am.2” If breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day why is so commonly skipped?
5 REASONS WHY BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT
1. It kick-starts your metabolism
Breakfast is vital in providing the first source of energy for your body which hasn’t received any fuel for the last 8 -10 hours. Eating breakfast helps to kick-start your metabolism after it has fallen asleep during the night. This helps your body to break down food more effectively throughout the day. Some people say they feel hungrier after eating breakfast than if they don’t. This is a good thing as it means your body is awake, working and using the food you are eating1. Eating a balanced meal that is low GI (low glycaemic index) helps to increase and stabilise blood sugar levels which are generally low when we wake up4. If your low blood sugar is not corrected you may feel tired, lethargic, shaky, with poor concentration1.
2. It provides Nutrients
Breakfast is a great way to start your day by making sure you are getting in all the nutrients needed1. Breakfast-skippers show a lower average intake in the number of servings of nutritious foods such as vegetables, grain products and milk products daily2,3. In a 2004 study, breakfast-skippers were shown to be deficient by up to 2/3 of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamins A, B6, and D, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, folacin, zinc, phosphorus, and iron2. A 50 g serving of FUTURELIFE® High Energy Smart Food™ provides half of an average adult’s RDA for vitamins and most minerals. This makes it very easy to meet the rest of your vitamin and mineral needs with a balanced diet. No need for expensive multivitamin supplements1.
Most South Africans don’t have enough fibre in their diet. Our range of FUTURELIFE® functional cereals provide anything from 3 g of fibre per serving for the High Energy Smart Food™ to up to 10.3 g per serving for FUTURELIFE® Smart Fibre™ 2in1. Any of our products will help you reach your daily fibre recommendation of 25 – 30g/day4.
3. It assists with weight management
Research on skipping breakfast in adults is inconsistent with most of the studies showing benefit for weight loss while others showing no benefit5,6. Skipping breakfast was associated with a significantly higher risk of obesity7. Subjects who regularly skipped breakfast had a 4.5 times greater risk of obesity compared to those who consumed breakfast regularly7. In children and adolescents, thirteen studies (n = 57,481) consistently showed that breakfast had a protective effect against becoming overweight or obese8. Studies found that that when low-GI foods were eaten at breakfast, lunch intake was lower compared to a high-GI breakfast9. This effect is related to a lower degree of weight gained over time and prevents snacking on unhealthy foods1.
4. Brain Power
Breakfast has been shown to improve mental performance, concentration and mood, however some of the reasons still need further research1,2. Children who are well-nourished perform better academically as they have better concentration, show improvements in behaviour, problem-solving skills, short-term memory, attention and have improved attendance and punctuality at school. Inadequate nutrient intake is related to poor academic performance and negative behavioural issues2,10.
5. Bonding time
Besides the direct effect that breakfast has on our health, the activity of sitting together as a family and eating breakfast has been linked to a lower risk for becoming overweight. Eating together as a family has also shown to offer protection for girls against eating disorders11.
The guidelines of what constitutes a healthy high – quality breakfast differs from person to person. A study by Giovannini et al. who drew up guidelines for what a high-quality breakfast should include stated that grains (namely whole grain), fruit and semi-skimmed milk products or other sources of calcium should be used3. In a systematic review in adults, studies consistently showed that people who eat breakfast cereals regularly tend to have a lower BMI and are less likely to be overweight than those who do not eat breakfast cereals regularly12. Ready to eat (RTE) cereal consumers had better nutrient intake profiles and lower adiposity indexes than breakfast skippers or other breakfast consumers in US children/adolescents13.
Low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods are broken down more slowly and give you a steady and sustained supply of energy throughout the day as well as keep you fuller for longer4. Studies found that that when low-GI foods were eaten at breakfast, lunch intake was lower compared to a high-GI breakfast. Some Low GI options may include a bowl of FUTURELIFE® High Energy or HIGH PROTEIN Smart Food™ or FUTURELIFE® Smart Bread toast with low sugar low salt nut butter butter or scrambled egg and ¼ avocado pear.
So now before you run out the door without breakfast, think about what is doing to your body and how it will affect the productivity in your day. For more information about our products, visit our website at: www.futurelife.co.za
- Kathleen Mahan, Sylvia Escott-Stump (2008). Krause’s Food & Nutrition Therapy.
- NHS Fact or Fiction page. Does skipping breakfast help with weight loss?