Are you a breakfast person? Maybe a late-starter? Is that based on your body's natural tendencies? Your work or family lifestyle?
In years past, your Mother would remind you that breakfast is the most important meal, and that you must eat before you go to school so that you can think more clearly.
The experts on a variety of morning shows also echoed that breakfast is the most important meal, that it sets up your metabolism for the remainder of the day.
But reports from patients find those who advocate for breakfast, and those who don't. On the advocate side are those who insist that a good breakfast "anchors" them for the rest of the day helps curb indiscriminate eating. Others report if they eat breakfast, it stimulates their appetites, and they're likely to eat more throughout the day.
No matter which side of breaking the fast you are on, it is for certain that a sugary breakfast -- pastries, white toast with jam, pancakes, waffles -- is not the way to go. You may feel a temporary surge of energy, as your blood sugar will skyrocket, generating a compensatory burst of insulin. Within a couple of hours, however, your blood sugar will crash, and you'll be famished. Hypoglycemia will send your appetite and mood swinging for the rest of the day.
Recently, some counter-think has been introduced into the breakfast debate. With the popularity of Intermittent Fasting, some argue that the longer we go without eating, the better it is for us. During that span of time, your body goes into ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body consumes its own fat stores.
Advocates of Intermittent Fasting say it reduces insulin resistance, combats inflammation, and even helps mood and memory because blood sugar is stabilized and the brain fuels itself with short chain fatty acids instead of glucose.
Exercise Before or After Breakfast?
A study of healthy, active males set up three groups. One group had a high octane breakfast and did not exercise; they gained weight. One group ate breakfast, then exercised; they gained weight, but only half as much as the first group. The third group ate a breakfast rich in protein after exercise; they gained no weight and showed no signs insulin resistance.
Is It Yea or Nay?
If you skip breakfast, or start the day with a skimpy carbohydrate snack, and you find yourself with irresistible cravings, try a substantial protein-rich breakfast. Your first meal may help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you from misbehaving.
On the other hand, if you feel lousy after your morning meal, make sure that refined sugars, allergens, or chemicals in your breakfast aren't triggering symptoms. Eliminating gluten, dairy, preservatives and/or artificial food colorings may relieve your post-breakfast blahs. If you have ruled out those issues and feel that eating breakfast is not for you, we're not saying that Mom was wrong, but that she didn't know then what we know now. It's okay to put aside your Mother's breakfast rules.
While skipping breakfast in an attempt to starve yourself could backfire and find you gorging at lunchtime, it's okay to wait until you're hungry to eat your first meal of the day. Postponing the calorie intake could give you more flexibility later on, should you have a snack craving at midday or want an extra protein portion at dinner.
Paying attention to how your body feels should let you know which is right for you.
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