The old saying ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ sounds like something mothers used to say to their kids to make them eat something before going to school. Yet scientific studies show that there is a basis in this idea and it is one that can have a powerful effect on your weight and BMI. On the turn side, there is also strong evidence that eating late in the day can have a negative effect on weight. So why is this?
Benefits of breakfast
One of the simplest reasons for eating breakfast is that it stops you being hungry during the morning. This is turn means that you don’t end up seeking out snacks to stop the hunger, as these tend to be low in nutritional value and high in sugars. Eating breakfast not only keeps away hunger but also gives you more energy and better concentration during the morning, meaning you are more productive. It helps staves off tiredness and avoid that mid-morning lull when the only place you want to be is at home, in bed.
Eating the right breakfast can also be viewed as the first step in a process that results in a better night’s sleep. This is because if you don’t eat breakfast, the tendency is to then overeat at lunch and dinner, particularly with certain food groups such as carbohydrates. This in turn can result in a poor night’s sleep, which means the next day you are tired and the cycle continues again. One study in Japan also showed that this is relevant even to people who don’t have weight problems, so even those who aren’t battling obesity should eat breakfast for this reason.
What to eat for breakfast
Eating a quick doughnut for breakfast will keep hunger at bay for a while with its resulting sugar-rush but doesn’t really give you the whole benefits that the right breakfast can. So what is the right things to eat?
Look to balance the meal just as you would at lunch or dinner – high in nutrients, vitamins in minerals. This may sound a bit boring or complicated for first thing in the morning, but there are plenty of options that tick all the boxes and take very little work. As well as giving you more energy during the day and increasing alertness, a balanced breakfast also has a positive impact on cholesterol levels.
The other main factor that has been shown to negatively affect weight is eating a late dinner. Many of us fall into the trap of coming home, sorting out the kids or doing the housework and ending up eating a meal mid or late evening. Yet experts have clearly shown there is a direct link between eating late and obesity – those who ate dinner within three hours of bedtime had a higher BMI than those who ate earlier. Add into this a skipped breakfast and the effect increased even further.
Life is busy and there are many things to think about but eating the right breakfast and timing dinner correctly are habits that can be learned. Once these habits are in place, there are clear benefits for those seeking to lose weight and even for those who aren’t.