Breakfast Club: How Important is the First Meal of the Day?

For many people, eating the right amount of meals a day is an important part of their health routine. It is generally accepted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it really? Let’s take a look at the early eaters, and whether they’re really better off.

What do we mean by breakfast?
As a general rule, breakfast is eaten within the first hour or two of the day. Breakfast foods are pretty wide ranging. Some people prefer cereals and grains, with others going for proteins such as bacon or deviled eggs. As a general rule, a combination of protein and carbohydrates is the right way to go. Egg on wheat toast, for instance, or a bacon roll with brown bread.

What makes breakfast so important?
Firstly, breakfast is the ideal way to get an energy boost early on in the day. Everyone feels sleepy when they first wake up, and breakfast can help remove that early morning fog.  Protein, for instance, gets the muscles going, and carbs are ideal for a quick burst of energy.

Breakfast has also been proven to help improve mood. Eating something early in the morning can help reduce the risk of low blood sugar, a constant cause of grumpiness.
Even something like an apple can help put a smile on that frowning face.

Breakfast also minimises the risk of snacking. As a general rule, those who don’t eat first thing in the morning will usually find themselves getting hungry a couple of hours later.  Unfortunately, for many of us that time clashes nicely with being at the office. As a result, rather than waiting for lunch, we all head to the vending machines and stock up on sugary treats. Eating a protein heavy breakfast is a great way to stay full, and prevent the gravitational pull of the vendors.

Finally, breakfast can also help to get the brain going. Various studies have shown that eating breakfast can help the brain deal with memory retention and concentration. These meals are worth a look in terms of brain food.

Any downsides?
The one thing worth mentioning here is to watch the levels of sugar that you’re taking in at breakfast. Many foods marketed to the breakfast demographic are exceptionally high in sugar. It probably doesn’t take a genius to work out which ones, so we’ll just go with ‘nearly every breakfast cereal ever’. Read an example here.

Eating too much sugar early on will nearly always lead to a mid-morning crash (and we’ll give you one guess where that leads to: here’s a hint, it rhymes with ‘zending fachines’).
As a general rule, go for protein of some kind. If you can’t stomach eggs or meat in the morning then go for proper Scottish porridge or brown bread – both contain slow acting carbs, meaning that as well as keeping you full for longer, they won’t give you the zzzz factor during that morning meeting.

The verdict
Breakfast remains an absolutely vital meal, and one that everyone should have. But stay clear of all that sugar, or you’ll be looking at a hefty crash and an even heftier waistline!

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