You may have heard the old saying, “Eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper at supper.” The idea behind it is that your body and brain need nutrients to function, and by literally ‘breaking the fast’ in the morning, you’re fueling your body to take on the day. Various studies have shown that eating breakfast provides many benefits, including the following:
A study of 6,000 students showed that those who ate breakfast had better grades and were more likely to graduate.
Skipping breakfast makes it more likely for a person to crave snack foods later in the day and eat a disproportionately large supper. Researchers from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh found that eating breakfast cereal in the morning helped with weight loss. An article in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that people who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese.
Breakfast is a good opportunity to take in important nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and fiber. It also sets a good nutritional tone for the rest of the day. According to this infographic, a person who skips breakfast eats 40 percent more sweets, 55 percent more soft drinks, 45 percent fewer vegetables, and 30 percent less fruit.
Breakfast-skippers tend to be grumpier. Hungry kids are apathetic and irritable when confronted with challenges at school. Skipping breakfast often makes a person feel tired, which affects one’s mood.
Eating breakfast reduces likelihood of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Mark Pereira of Harvard Medical School. A study in the the Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who eat breakfast also have better cholesterol levels and aren’t as sensitive to insulin. High-energy breakfast foods might help with short-term memory, according to the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Despite these facts, as some people still can't stand breakfast. The problem, however, could be that not feeling the need for breakfast is indicative of other lifestyle problems, such as eating large meals late at night or snacking throughout the evening, which would make anyone disinclined to eat a hearty breakfast in the morning. I know I benefited greatly from instituting a regular breakfast habit after years of skipping. It took a lot of discipline to make it part of my daily schedule, but now I depend upon it greatly, not least because I hate feeling hungry by 10 a.m.
The important thing is to find what kind of healthy breakfast works for you. Whether you stick with the traditional whole-grains-and-dairy recommendation, or go ‘Paleo’ with high-fat nuts, eggs, fruit, and meat to avoid the insulin spike that comes from eating bread, or chow down on rice noodles with fried eggs and kimchi (my personal favourite!), it’s a good idea to get something in your belly to start your day off right. Just keep away from that sugar and white bread!