We’ve all heard breakfast being referred to as the “most important meal of the day” and we know that we need to eat breakfast, but when I think back upon my own behavior the past few weeks, I realized that I had slipped back into the “coffee for breakfast” habit, which I know to be wrong.
As I type this article, the only thing between me and my monitor is a behemoth coffee mug that has twice been filled and emptied, and my own stomach is growling away. It is times like this that the philosophy of reinforcing things that we already “know” becomes so clear.
I know that I should eat breakfast, and I know that two huge cups of coffee are the worst substitute for a substantial meal, but it is so easy to take the path of least resistance rather than to choose to do the thing that is best for me. Do you struggle with the same issues? Well, if you do, there is no better place to get back on track than with breakfast.
Firing Up The Furnace
I have often heard of breakfast being described as firing up your body’s metabolism. While that’s a nice image, it is one of those comments that – on the surface – goes against expectations.
We tend to oversimplify and look at just “calories consumed” vs. “calories burned” as a measure of whether or not we will gain or burn weight (in the form of fat).
The article quoted Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School.
“When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight.”
For me, this is a new way of thinking about breakfast. I tend to disassociate one day with the next, but in reality if you eat dinner at 6:00 pm and then skip breakfast, eighteen hours has elapsed before you eat lunch at noon.
As far as your body is concerned, you are starving it. Why would your body be producing fat metabolizing enzymes? There is no reason for them.
Mining the National Registry Data
You are probably familiar with the National Weight Control Registry, as it has been mentioned before in other articles, but if not the registry is a database of profiles of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept the weight off for at least one year.
This database is a weight researcher’s “mother lode” because of the great number of people available to study.
Some of the excellent breakfast-related analysis from the registry that was discussed in the article included:
* – “Most — 78% — reported eating breakfast every day, and almost 90% reported eating breakfast at least five days a week – which suggests that starting the day with breakfast is an important strategy to lose weight and keep it off.” James O.
Hill, PhD, registry co-founder and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Another study released by the American Dietetic Association (though funded by breakfast cereal companies) revealed the following:
* – Among girls aged 9 to 19, those who ate cereal for breakfast were less likely to have problems with their weight as compared to those who did not eat cereal.
The non-cereal eaters were 13% more likely to have weight problems than their corn-flake consuming counterparts.
Elisabetta Polity (quoted above) also mentioned that of those patients she counsels on weight loss, those who eat breakfast are the ones who typically end up losing a significant amount of weight.
She explains that before eating breakfast, the majority of calories they consumed would be later in the evening.
When they began to eat breakfast, the caloric intake was spread out more evenly over the course of the day. “It makes sense that the body wants to be fueled,” she said.
Have a great day and remember to start tomorrow off right!