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Why Breakfast is Your Most Important Meal and What Most People Get Wrong

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

If you’re a client and you’re reading this, you know one of the first questions I ask is: When and how do you break your fast. Breakfast stands for breaking the overnight fast.

Making time for breakfast has changed my life. It sounds so dramatic, but I used to be 16/8 faster & would PUSH my body to make it noon or 1 pm. I would end up feeling out of control, eating way too much & then the same thing would happen at dinner.

So why is it so important? Your first meal will predict the whole day’s blood sugar response curve. It will actually dictate your energy levels, cravings, and crashes. Eating too many processed carb & fats, not enough food, the wrong foods, or skipping it altogether, the body will have to do a lot of work when your blood sugar starts to drop off - hello stress hormones.  If you’re waiting till noon or 1 pm to eat, you may find you overeat in the evening or you feel out of control at this meal. You may also feel you snack back to back and are left bloated and exhausted.

If you are a woman reading this, research has suggested women who skip breakfast have elevated blood pressure and disrupt cortisol. Chronically elevated cortisol robs your body of protein by stealing from your muscles to keep blood sugar elevated. In turn this decrease insulin sensitivity, impedes ovulation and and can weaken your immune systems. Did I mention muscle is metabolically active - it keeps your metabolism humming. The muscle you have the calories you burn. When it comes to body composition, the two main determinants are lean mass and genetics. See how habits influence our physiology.

Do you suffer with anxiety or the blues?One study found those who skipped breakfast had increased anxiety when compared to the group who ate breakfast.

Looking to improve body composition?

One study found that skipping breakfast had a higher affinity for empty calories in the evening. Another study study found that eating a bigger breakfast and smaller dinner led to increased weight loss than a smaller breakfast and bigger dinner in women. Both groups followed identical diets and their sleep and exercise was controlled for, yet the breakfast group lost double the amount of weight, had a greater reduction in waist circumference and blood sugar markers. Why? A couple reasons: circadian rhythms and blood sugar.

Your metabolism and something called thermogenesis is highest in the morning.

Thermogenesis increases energy expenditure above basal metabolic rate, supporting your metabolism! This is highest in the day and decreases at night.

When our blood sugar is rocky, the body has actual mechanisms in place to help correct it. There's a host of different hormones, such as cortisol - a key stress hormone that is associated with both stress and fat storage - that work together to correct this. If we rely on this long-term it can result in burn out, weight gain, brain fog, chronic inflammation, hormonal imbalances, gut issues, and more. This also means the body is breaking down muscle, which can lower our basal metabolic rate.

There is so much evidence showing our whole day’s energy production is based on the first meal. The first meal will dictate our energy levels, future cravings, and more. If we are not eating enough food, our body perceives a state of starvation and ultimately lowers our metabolism. Breakfast is not my biggest meal, but strongest. If weight loss is goal, research has suggested morning‐loaded energy distribution as a beneficial strategy for weight control. AKA eat breakfast!

Several studies have found that breakfast determines our circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle that controls our sleep-wake cycle and things like digestion and metabolism. All of your cells are synced to this rhythm. Think of it as eating with the sun.

A few more items:

  • Breakfast is not breakfast

  • A piece of toast is not breakfast

  • And you are a fruit first kinda person, please follow-up it with some protein or better yet add protein.

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