Mom was right: Breakfast matters

Written by Franklin Smalley, MD, Scott & White Healthcare Taylor Clinic

It is often quoted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is important for many reasons to eat at least three meals a day, balancing calories between these and maybe a small healthy snack in between them, but there have been a few studies revealing breakfast as being the most important.

Research continues to show that people who eat breakfast daily maintain a healthier weight than those who don’t. The reason behind this is often unclear, but I believe it relates mostly to your metabolism.

Think of it like this: If you skip a meal, your body doesn’t know when its next meal is coming. If your body doesn’t know when its next meal is coming, it will store everything it can as fat to use later.

This is probably oversimplification, but it’s easier to wrap your head around.

Being hungry in the morning has several physical consequences including: stomach pain, headache, muscle fatigue, sleepiness, anxiety, anger and confusion. That doesn’t sound good for job or school performance. Two studies in the late 80s and early 90s (from Tufts University and Hebrew University) found that children who ate school breakfasts performed better on standardized testing. Luckily, our local schools do a great job at providing a good breakfast. It is important for parents to make sure their children (and themselves) are eating a healthy breakfast daily.

Chronic conditions like diabetes can be greatly improved by maintaining a healthy diet, starting with a good breakfast. Diabetes is difficult to control if any meals are skipped, and especially if breakfast is skipped.

A healthy breakfast includes: protein, starch, natural sugar (think fruit not fruit loops) and healthy fats. The natural sugars and starch, like those found in fruit and breads, release energy fairly quickly.

Protein is broken down slower, releasing energy over the next few hours. The healthy fats, which keep you full until lunch, release energy last.

A well rounded breakfast is the key to starting your day off right, whether your goal is acing a test, completing a task, watching your weight or just living life to its fullest.

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Mom was right: Breakfast matters