Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yes, Breakfast is THAT Important

I love breakfast.

Truly, I do. Sometimes in the evening when I'm reading in bed or sitting watching a show, I will dream about breakfast and how delicious it will be when morning arrives. I eat the same thing every day for breakfast; a bowl of homemade granola, a piece of fruit and a hot mug of coffee, and I have yet to tire of this meal after eating it day in and day out for months. Morning time is awesome because it involves breakfast.

I was inspired to share my love for the most important meal of the day because I just read an article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition saying that men who skip breakfast have a much higher chance of developing type-2 diabetes than those who eat it every day. They followed up on 29,206 American men, 16 years after they reported their eating behaviours in a 1992 study. Sure there are many other factors that could contribute to people developing this disease, such as lifestyle, body weight and/or BMI and genetics, but researchers took these factors into consideration as well and after eliminating and adjusting these risk factors, the men from the study who skipped breakfast were 21% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than those who did not skip it. Also, men who ate at 1-2 meals a day were 25% more likely to get the disease than those who ate at least 3 meals a day. Those are some pretty huge numbers.

What I find a bit disturbing about this study is that this is following up on men who reported their eating habits in 1992 and just think about how much worse we North Americans eat now. I bet that there are way more people skipping breakfast today than they did back in 1992. Not only are we always pressed for time, obesity rates have sky-rocketed which also means that more people are dieting now than ever. And what do people who are always on a diet tend to do to try to lose weight? Skip breakfast! If only people knew how important breakfast was for losing and/or maintaining body weight. Time and time and time and time again, reports and studies show us that breakfast is essential for our health and that if we eat breakfast then we will eat less calories throughout the day because we are more satiated from our morning meal.

What all of these studies also show is that people who skip breakfast appear to have higher rates of other negative health behaviours, such as smoking, exercising less, having higher body weight and more frequent alcohol use.  Hmmm. Interesting.

Working with Rachelle and listening to dozens of weight-loss clients talk about their eating habits, I've heard lots of people say that they are never hungry for breakfast and don't eat until lunch. Then as the weeks go by and they are somewhat forced to eat breakfast on the meal plan, they come to realize that they are suddenly hungry and excited about breakfast. Breakfast is so important because it kick-starts our body and our metabolism by getting the enzymes going that are needed to break down fat. Also, the non-breakfast eaters all had the same problem; they were gorging in the evenings because they would be starving by the time they got home from work. Most of their calorie consumption was happening all at once which overloaded the body, caused crazy insulin spikes and made the digestive system work way harder than it needed to so late in the day. How can we expect our poor GI to break all of this down while we sleep? We should at least give it some help by choosing to eat earlier in the day to get it going and keep it going as the day continued by eating on a regular basis and feeding it the nutrients it needs to power the body all day long.

And don't tell me that you don't have time to make yourself breakfast in the morning. Even if you have 2 minutes, you can make a breakfast to eat on the drive to work.
Step 1: Take a tortilla (whole wheat perhaps?).
Step 2: Spread some 100% natural peanut butter on it (go for crunchy for some extra texture).
Step 3: Peel a banana and place it on one end of the tortilla.
Step 4: Roll the tortilla around the banana and roll all the way. Pair it with your coffee, or preferably some milk or milk alternative, and YUM! Breakfast on the go!

So here's my message for you all. Eat breakfast! It may help prevent you from getting type-2 diabetes! Is that not reason enough to take an extra couple minutes in your morning to eat something? I think so.

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