Everyone has heard the saying, “breakfast the most important meal of the day”. Well it is true. As a Certified Nutritionist this is something I start working on with each client. The importance of laying down the ground work for a good nutritious breakfast.
Breakfast the word, when broken down gives us the definition. It means to break the fast. When you sleep, your body is repairing, working, recovering, and in a state of fasting. That is one major reason why intermitten fasting is not ideal for weight loss. Due to the fact that it extends your fast longer than it needs to. Which can cause overeating later in the day.
Since breakfast is breaking the fast from your last food intake, which is usually 10-12 hours this means it is very important what you eat. If you were to eat a sugary bowl of cereal with low-fat milk, do you think your body would appreciate that. The answer is no. It definitely wouldn’t. Breakfast sets the tone for your day, what you eat, your hunger levels, your cortisol levels, your hormone production, and your insulin blood sugar levels.
Protein and Insulin
For breakfast the ideal nutrient is protein. Protein is essential at breakfast because this gives your body a boost in nutrients to work in every cell, send information to each cell and organ, for proper organ function, for muscle development, to create enzymes, provide structure to your hair, skin, and nails, balance fluids, and maintain proper Ph balance within your body, to name a few.
Protein is an essential nutrient because all of those functions mentioned are essential for your body. When you start your day off with protein you are creating the pace and tone of how insulin will be released from your pancreas. Insulin is the blood sugar enzyme. When you eat protein your body sends out a moderate amount because it doesn’t need very much to breakdown protein.
Eating a refined carbohydrate like the sugary cereal with low-fat milk for breakfast causes a big insulin spike. Your body needs a lot of insulin to break that down, which then spikes your blood sugar levels. This means your day starts off with a giant spike in blood sugar, it turns into a roller coaster ride for your blood sugar for the rest of the day. This isn’t good. Overtime when your blood sugar goes from high to low throughout the day this can lead to diabetes and chronic inflammation.
When you eat 15-25grams of protein for breakfast with some carbohydrates and/or fat you allow your blood sugar to be more controlled throughout the day. When there is more control of blood sugar levels your body craves less sugar, craves less refined carbohydrates, and over all feels better. You tend to eat less throughout the day with a good wholesome breakfast to start your day, you sleep better, your cortisol levels are lowered, and you are less hangry.
Hormones + Breakfast
When you skip breakfast, meaning leave a 3-5 hour gap between when you wake up your first meal this has a massive impact on your hormone health. Cortisol, insulin, and adrenaline are hormones. They have a strong response to stress. When you don’t eat for an extended period of time they are triggered to respond to this stress, which means they are secreted within your body. From your last meal (dinner and dessert) until breakfast that is usually a normal 8-12 hour gap. An accepted fast by the body while you digest the meal from the day before, sleep, and wake up and start your day.
When that is extended beyond that range of time and this is repeated over and over and over again, well the body goes into stress mode. This can cause a mis-communication of hormones and trigger them to be released on a daily basis without a true sign of fear or need for the body to release them.
What are the effects of this stress response?
Other hormones being released
Overeating later in the day to reduce the internal stress response
Late night eating to make up for lost or insufficient caloric intake
Gravitating towards simple carbohydrates for a boost of energy
Lack of energy, sluggishness, and foggy brain
Hair loss, brittle nails
What to Eat for Breakfast?
Good proteins for breakfast are foods like:
Full-fat plain yogurt
Smoked Salmon with whole wheat toast
Eggs (any way)
Avocado hemp seed toast
Turkey Bacon Egg Frittata
Chicken Sausage with sauteed spinach
Eating breakfast really is so important for your health. The more consistent you are with eating a healthy balanced breakfast the better you will feel. Remember to get in that protein and balance your meal!