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    « The Quick Fix for your Diet | Main | 10 Killer Arm Exercises »

    Why Breakfast is Important

    ©Alisdair McDiarmid, Wikimedia CommonsHaving talked with a great many people about fitness - including weight training and nutrition - I've come the conclusion that skipping breakfast is a key reason that people are overweight.  You've possibly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  While I tend to believe that ALL meals are important, there is a certain degree of truth to the greater importance of breakfast.  Here are a few facts that back up that belief:

    • Breakfast is so named because it is literally "break"ing the overnight "fast" - the period of time over which we were not eating.  I personally sleep about 8-9 hours a night.  If I were to go so long without eating over the day, I would be ravenous.  That same idea is no less true overnight, but since we're not active at night, our bodies aren't nearly as demanding for nutrition upon waking - that is, our stomachs aren't growling or cramping from lack of food.  The truth is, our bodies are desperately waiting for food in order to refuel the body first thing in the morning.
    • Overnight, our bodies get into a fasted state, which is perceived as a form of stress.  As a result, a hormone called cortisol kicks into action and starts breaking down body tissues.  While this might seem like a good thing to the person interested in getting rid of body fat, cortisol has a very interesting relationship with the enzyme that is responsible for depositing body fat around the midsection, lipoprotein lipase.  The presence of cortisol activates that enzyme, and fat around the midsection stubbornly holds fast.  Eating a nutritionally sound breakfast that includes unprocessed grains (oatmeal), proteins (eggs), and fruit is the best way to bring the effects of cortisol to a screeching halt.
    • Eating breakfast wakes up the metabolism, which is beneficial for early-day attention, energy levels, and general attitude.
    • Eating breakfast prevents late-day overindulgence.  People who don't eat in the morning incidentally try to make up the lost calories later in the day.  Almost inevitably, they eat more calories later in the day than they would have eaten in the morning hours.  The end result is more calories eaten despite having skipped a meal.  More calories means more weight.
    • The National Weight Control Registry conducted a study of people who maintained long-term weight loss.  What they have determined is that those people who maintained their weight loss for at least a year (and sometimes up to 6 years) were regular breakfast eaters.  Breakfast has been clearly linked to weight management and aiding in weight reduction.

    Breakfast does not have to be complex.  My breakfasts regularly consist of instant oatmeal that takes 1 minute to cook in a microwave oven and a couple of cheese sticks.  I also eat high-fiber cereals with skim milk or turkey wraps with tomatoes and a lowfat chipotle sauce.  All of these meals take less than 5 minutes to prepare and can be eaten fairly quickly.  The turkey wrap can be eaten on the road if time is an issue.

    The point of the matter is this: EAT BREAKFAST.  There's too much good to be had by doing so.

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