Burton: Breakfast, the most important meal of the day
The beginning of your day often starts with breakfast, or, if you're like a quarter of America, it doesn't.
The effects of eating breakfast have been hotly debated for a while in the fitness and nutrition industry, with prominent figures arguing that eating breakfast reduces body fat, and others arguing that eating breakfast doesn't help you at all.
In truth, the effect of breakfast on your life is a bit more complex than eating it or not eating it. A study published in 2018 showed that in adolescents, eating breakfast resulted in higher stress levels and lower quality of life in relation to health when compared to adolescents who skipped breakfast.
It's easy to jump to conclusions and say that skipping breakfast is the healthier option, but when examined further, those who ate a healthier breakfast showed low stress levels, and higher quality of life. This was similar in breakfast skippers, who saw roughly the same results. However, kids who ate poor-quality breakfasts showed higher stress levels and lower quality of life relating to health than the children who skipped breakfast or ate breakfast.
After looking at this study, it seems that both skipping breakfast, and eating a healthy breakfast, are both better alternatives to eating a poor breakfast. If we took this study at face value, it would make sense to skip breakfast instead of eating junk food found in the bottom of the pantry, or fast food.
Unfortunately, nothing is that simple. Another study that took place over roughly 18 years focused on adults aged around 50 and observed the effect of skipping breakfast on their lives.
Adults who skipped breakfast every day were compared with adults who ate breakfast every day. The researchers focused on cardiovascular health in the adults and found an increased risk of mortality due to heart disease. The study found that on average, individuals who skipped breakfast every day had an 87% increased risk of dying from heart disease when compared with those who ate breakfast every day.
Overall, the researchers concluded that eating breakfast every day can be a powerful deterrent to heart disease.
For those who exercise, the toll of skipping breakfast every day may also decrease performance in resistance and endurance training, like lifting weights or running for an hour or more.
The difficulty is in finding ways to eat a healthier breakfast and doing it consistently. One way is to make sure your panty is stocked before you need breakfast. If you can purchase enough food to make breakfasts for a week, you'll be able to stop the morning rush to find the nearest fast food chain.
But when you pick your foods, remember to choose healthy options. ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends changing artificially flavored yogurt for plain yogurt, and switching from unhealthy carb options like muffins, to healthier options like granola.
Although it might seem hard to make the healthy switch, it is worth it. Seek help from friends and family if you need to, and make sure you eat your breakfast.
Will Burton is a personal trainer and the owner of Mobile Training Systems in Sherwood. He has experience training athletes and members of the general population and holds multiple certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
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