Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?


Chances are you’ve been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A meal that replenishes you after the night fast and provides you with the energy and nutrients you need to get through the morning; a meal that should be the largest we consume, especially to promote weight control and digestive comfort.

But the popularity of fasting diets and a coffee culture in which many of us are replacing our daily cereals with a big latte have dramatically changed the way we eat breakfast.

So where does that leave our favorite breakfast cereals or our hearty cafe breakfast meals? And how do we know if we should refuel at breakfast or fast until lunchtime? The most recent breakfast research can be found here.

There is some evidence to suggest that eating a large meal early in the day promotes metabolism. Photo: Edwina pickles

Is breakfast good for us?

There is no one size fits all for breakfast. Everyone is different, as are their energy and nutritional needs, which may differ on a daily basis. Nutritionally, there are some key benefits associated with eating an early meal, with regular breakfasts eating more dietary fiber, vitamins, and less junk food and added sugars in general. There is also data to suggest that eating a large meal early in the day promotes metabolic rate, with a study showing that people who ate a larger breakfast burned twice as much energy as those who ate a larger dinner.

What about fasting?

In Australia, at least 12% of adults are skipping breakfast on a regular basis, and with intermittent fasting diets dominating the health headlines for some time now, more and more people seem to be moving away from a bowl of cereal and wait until mid or late morning before eating. . While intermittent fasting has been shown to have a number of metabolic benefits and is also associated with moderate weight loss over time, for lean people with high energy needs, it doesn’t. There is no additional benefit to extending the nightly fast beyond 12 hours. A 12-hour fast has been shown to promote appetite regulation, weight control, and digestive health.

The real problem

The least-mentioned issue associated with our breakfast choices is that we like to have breakfast at our local cafe, and breakfasts at the cafe are very different from those we make at home. Whether it’s a giant latte, which can hold more energy than a meal, dishes of fried bacon and eggs, or sugary pastries and baked goods, there are plenty of options for small. -coffee breakfasts are packed with fat, energy and sugars.

What about the coffee?

Our love for lattes and flat whites can come at a nutritional price. Regular milk-based coffee has the same number of kilojoules as a slice of toast, and while milk can be a nutritious addition, the growth of sweet, plant-based milks commonly used by baristas can mean you get a shot of adding sugar with your morning infusion without realizing it. Replacing food in the morning with a latte means you run the risk of delaying your hunger until later in the morning, when we are more likely to have a sugary snack to accompany us until lunchtime. . Or, adding a great cup of coffee to your regular breakfast can easily blow up your breakfast kilojoules.

So what’s the best breakfast?

Nutritionally, a morning meal that contains quality protein and high-fiber, whole-grain carbohydrates will create a nutritional blend that will help refuel the body after overnight fasting and keep you full and full for several hours after eating. . Specifically, high-protein options that offer 2-3g of the leucine amino acids like smoked salmon, Greek yogurt, a few eggs, or a serving of pea-based protein powder will help control hormones that regulate fat. appetite, while foods high in fiber such as whole grains or breads, fruits or even vegetables provide slow-digesting fuel to help keep blood sugar under control throughout the morning. If a latte is part of your breakfast order, include it in the meal and aim for less toast or cereal to account for the extra energy. Black coffee, coffee or tea sipped with a dash of milk or a piccolo on the other hand are low kilojoule options that can be enjoyed freely.

What are the best breakfasts for losing weight?

Breakfast dishes between 1250 and 1650 kilojoules, along with 20-30g of carbohydrates and 20g of protein will help support appetite and weight control. A few eggs with a slice of wholemeal sourdough, a small smoked salmon wrap, Greek berry yogurt, and a few tablespoons of whole grain or a meal replacement shake are all healthy low-energy options.

At what time should I have breakfast?

The most important thing to consider when it comes to breakfast is whether or not you feel hungry when you eat it. There’s nothing wrong with waiting an hour or two after waking up to eat, and in some cases, it’s actually a better option because you’re more likely to be hungry rather than eating just because it is. t’s breakfast time. If you find that you are never hungry in the morning, allow at least 12 hours between your evening meal and your breakfast. Opting for light dinners such as grilling with salad, soup, or vegetable dishes will also aid digestion and help you feel hungry in the morning. Alternatively, if you’re not hungry within two hours of waking up, start with a 1250–1650 kilojoule breakfast, such as a slice of whole grain toast with an egg or Greek fruit yogurt for boost your metabolism. A good rule of thumb is to aim to eat something before 9 a.m. each day.

Should I fast or eat breakfast?

Fasting is a dietary technique that can help improve metabolic health and may have positive effects on cell health in the longer term. Fasting can also be used as an extremely effective way to reconnect with your natural hunger signals. There are different fasting patterns, including eating a low kilojoule diet or longer night fasts of 14 to 16 hours. As a weight loss strategy, aiming for 14 to 16 hours overnight without food can help support weight loss, while low kilojoule days can occasionally benefit all of us. If your goal is to lose weight and fasting helps you achieve it, keep fasting as you see fit. If, on the other hand, you’ve been fasting until lunchtime for a while and your weight hasn’t changed, it may be time to reintroduce a morning meal.

Should I eat before my morning workout?

Again, it really depends on your goals. There is some evidence to show that exercise on an empty stomach helps increase the amount of fat metabolized. If your workout is moderate (for example, a walk or a morning workout for less than an hour), you don’t need to eat. On the other hand, if you are active, lean and exercise regularly at high intensity, have a small meal containing carbohydrates and proteins like an energy bar, a slice of toast with nut spread or a rich yogurt. protein will help fuel your workout. and promote muscle recovery.

Best breakfast options

Susie Burrell is a nutritionist and dietitian.

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