What if you went 12, 14 or even 16 hours without eating? You’d be starving, cranky, exhausted and unable to think straight, all while your metabolism slowed to conserve energy. To make matters worse, your body would be stockpiling as much fat as possible. More ready for hibernation than battle, the last thing you’d want is to confront any performance demands. Yet, this is precisely what more than half of Americans do every single day when they lumber into the world, sluggish from head to toe, having missed the most important meal of the day: breakfast.
Skipping Breakfast Is a Devastating Nutritional Mistake
Without breakfast, your body dives into starvation mode. Your metabolism slows down to a crawl and you’re inclined to overeat on unhealthy foods later. Many people contend that they don’t have time to eat. Others confuse skipping breakfast with a weight-loss strategy, when the reality is the opposite—they’re actually stunting their strength, slowing their brains, elevating stress and increasing fat storage.
Eating breakfast on a regular basis is one of the key behaviors of individuals who are successful at losing weight and maintaining that weight loss. According to the National Weight Control Registry, of people who have successfully lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off for six years, only 4 percent said they ever skipped breakfast. Experts say that’s because breakfast eaters are more likely to have a structured eating plan throughout the day and, consequently, are less likely to overeat or snack between meals.
Do You Start Strong?
People who eat breakfast:
- Are less likely to overeat later
- Boost their metabolism all day
- Show much higher focus and energy
- Eat healthier and smaller dinners
People who skip breakfast:
- Handicap themselves mentally and physically
- Start the day in starvation mode, increasing stress
- Cause their metabolism to slow down to conserve energy
- Tend to overeat and snack on junk food later in the day
Eating Just “Any” Breakfast Isn’t Good Enough
Unfortunately, of the many who do eat breakfast, what they are eating may be worse than skipping it altogether. Starting the day with a bagel, doughnut, sweet cereal or other refined carbohydrates can create a sudden burst of insulin, causing blood sugar to drop. An hour or two later, they may start feeling edgy, irritable and unable to concentrate, driving them to eat more simple carbs to compensate.
In contrast, a balanced breakfast with lean protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber actually revs you up for the day. Your body is at its metabolic peak in the morning, so calories consumed early in the day are less likely to put on pounds.
Breakfast Eaters Think Better and Are Thinner
Those who do eat a sound breakfast not only function better physically and mentally, but are also thinner than those who skip it. You may have noticed this in your own life. Skipping breakfast sets you up for compulsive snacking later, which leads to weight gain. Start your day on empty, and willpower will be no match for the cravings to come.
A Harvard Medical School survey found that children who ate breakfast had notable gains in academic and emotional function, better grades, attendance, behavior and psychological test scores. Lest you think this is any different for adults, skipping breakfast has been shown to have a negative effect on mental performance all day. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that eating breakfast improves adults’ performance on memory tests.
Research supports the sound advice Sesame Street has offered kids for nearly 40 years: A well-balanced breakfast is the only way to start a great day and enjoy high performance throughout.
When you start strong, you’ve set yourself on the course for success all day.
Until next week,