“Eat breakfast yourself!” The importance of breakfast (against the background of a modest lunch and the refusal of dinner) is reiterated by doctors, scientists and folk wisdom. But is breakfast really that important? And if it is really important, then what should it include?
The role of breakfast for health was found out by MedAboutMe.
What is breakfast?
Breakfast is the first meal of the day within two hours of waking up from your longest sleep of the day, before starting daily activities.
Breakfast is a unique meal compared to all other meals: it is at this moment that the long night fasting stops. And the longer the fasting time, the higher the concentration of the hormone ghrelin and the lower the concentration of the hormone insulin.
Breakfast, according to scientists and doctors, should provide a person with 25–35% of the daily calorie intake. It is an essential part of a balanced healthy diet. However, according to various data, from 12% to 24% of young people skip breakfast and lose a lot in doing so.
So why should you eat breakfast?
Breakfast reduces appetite
Back in the 1990s, scientists discovered that breakfast leads to a prolonged feeling of satiety and thereby reduces appetite by the time of dinner. But this is only if the breakfast includes foods high in fiber and low in fat. If there is little fiber and a lot of fat, then this effect is absent.
How does fiber in breakfast reduce appetite?
In a 2011 article published in the Journal of Nutrition, scientists explain that increased satiety and decreased appetite by dinner time are due to the activity of gut hormones, including cholecystokinin, which induces satiety and regulates appetite.
In addition, fiber is only exposed to enzymes in the colon, which can result in the formation of short-chain fatty acids. And these wonderful substances, getting into the blood, reduce the production of glucose in the liver, the level of fatty acids in the blood and stimulate the production of glucagon-like peptide‑1, which activates the processes of saturation.
Interestingly, breakfast itself changes a person’s eating habits. Thus, it has been proven that those who regularly eat breakfast consume less dietary fat and cholesterol, but get more fiber compared to those who neglect breakfast.
Breakfast linked to increased physical activity
Scientists from Loughborough University, in a 2016 article published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, report that breakfast increases a person’s physical activity. During overnight fasting, glycogen stores in the liver are significantly (about 40%) reduced, and this reduces the availability of endogenous glucose. A high-carbohydrate breakfast replenishes liver glycogen levels, while increasing muscle glycogen concentration by 11–17%. That is, if you refuse breakfast, the availability of glycogen for muscle work decreases and the physical performance of a person potentially decreases.
Ideally, scientists say, you should have breakfast 1–4 hours before training (unless, of course, it is not possible to practice in the evening).
Breakfast helps control weight
In January 2020, data from Chinese scientists were published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, according to which people who refuse breakfast are 1.48 times more likely to be overweight and 1.31 times more likely to suffer from abdominal obesity.
Breakfast reduces the incidence of diabetes
Studies show that in the morning people are more likely to eat so-called breakfast cereals, which contain more fiber. And eating fiber-rich foods improves blood sugar control and reduces the chance of it dropping too much between meals. That is, it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to data published in the journal Public Health Nutrition in 2015, those who skip breakfast are 21% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
A 2006 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition also showed that even in people already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, low-glycemic load breakfasts (and fiber is what helps lower the glycemic index of foods) improve blood sugar control. blood sugar, fatty acid concentration and insulin production.
Breakfast reduces heart risk
According to a 2020 article in the journal Clinical Nutrition: regularly skipping breakfast increases the likelihood of heart and vascular diseases by 1.22 times.
This finding supports data released by Japanese scientists in a 2019 article in the American Journal of Cardiology, which reported that skipping breakfast was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In the same year and in the same journal in April, another article on the same topic was published by American and Chinese researchers who claimed that people who never had breakfast were 1.87 times more likely to die from cardiovascular pathologies than those who start their day with breakfast.
Breakfast reduces the risk of premature death
The 2020 Clinical Nutrition study we already mentioned also states that skipping breakfast is 1.25 times more likely to die prematurely. Not surprising, considering everything we’ve said so far.
What is the best breakfast?
So, what should be included in breakfast, which will lead to all the above effects?
- Whole grain products.
- Fruits and/or vegetables.
- Dairy products with a medium or reduced fat content.
- Refusal of breakfast will not help to lose weight, on the contrary, it will complicate this process.
- Skipping breakfast negatively affects heart health and increases the risk of diabetes and obesity.
- That is, breakfast is definitely healthier than skipping the morning meal. Better yet, combine your daily breakfast with regular exercise. Breakfast is especially useful if you train in the morning.
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