Did you eat breakfast?
Now here’s some food for thought. Back in the middle of the last century popular nutritional advice was to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. However the scientific research for this advice was scant and recent examination of the merits of eating breakfast are being questioned. Its status as “the most important meal of the day” is under attack.
When 2,500 families in the UK were polled regarding their breakfast habits, nearly two thirds said they did not eat breakfast. A friend of mine confided that the thought of eating something at 7.00 in the morning “makes me feel sick”. However, he added that by mid morning he was starving and would start on the biscuits and snacks. This appears to support recent studies that people who skip breakfast often eat more mid morning and at lunchtime, however over the course of the day the energy intake (i.e. calories), appears about the same whether breakfast was eaten or not.
So why bother with breakfast?
And can you lose weight by eating breakfast?
At this juncture let me introduce some personal experience. For most of my adult life I skipped breakfast. I was with my “makes me feel sick” friend. But by mid morning it was biscuits and Mars bars and by lunchtime the cheese & onion pasties and chips had kicked in. All washed down with fizzy drinks and topped off with a lump of cake. For years and years I carried on like that without a second thought, blissfully ignoring what was happening to me. Until 3 years ago when I was hit round the head with the metaphorical frying pan: Type 2 Diabetes.
Now, the word “breakfast” covers a huge range of foods from an apple to the full monty and everything in between. The word itself assumes that you’ve eaten nothing – fasted – from the night before until 10 or so hours later after you’ve slept. Literally when you “break your fast”. Research is still ongoing on how different breakfast foods affect the body. The scientific jury is still out on many aspects of eating or not eating breakfast, so what does the evidence show?
Eating and digesting a breakfast does kick start the body’s metabolism
There’s evidence that breakfast eaters use more energy through physical activity, particularly in the morning.
Eating breakfast can improve the endurance of exercise performance throughout the day
Eating breakfast helps regulate blood glucose concentrations in the body. This is important for people with type 2 diabetes.
Eating a regular breakfast can increase your level of hunger
It’s too easy to eat fat laden, high sugar, high calorie food
What to eat for breakfast?
So it seems that although more research needs to be done, the scientific consensus is that eating a breakfast is a good idea. But there’s a big difference to eating just an apple and scoffing “the full monty”.
When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I needed to lose weight. A lot of weight. Six stone to be precise. 84 pounds. My whole lifestyle needed a radical overhaul. Breakfast was key. I needed a Smart Breakfast. One that could help me lose weight yet still give me energy throughout the morning. It needed to be rich in nutrients but low in calories – no more than 350. Nothing fried and no sugar. High fibre but low carbs. And low cholesterol.
A smart breakfast will only work if it is part of a weight loss plan. It means exercising more and eating less calories each day.
How many calories does the average person need each day to maintain weight?
– Women: 2,000 calories
– Men: 2,500 calories
A 500 calorie reduction per day is needed to lose one pound per week
– Women: 1,500 calories
– Men: 2,000 calories
Setting a calorie intake target each day is essential. Aim for a 500 to 1,000 calorie reduction. For example, a weight loss plan may consist of eating 1,000 calories daily broken down into 3 meals of about 330 calories. Add two snacks of 150 calories each gives a daily calorie target of 1,300 calories.
MY 3 COURSE HEART SMART BREAKFAST (350 calories)
– and the dietary benefits.
— FIRST COURSE —
- Glass of water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 date (24 calories)
Mix water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice.
(TIP – this can be a bit sour to some taste buds so eat a date straight after drinking.)
– Rehydrates and fires up your metabolism
– Helps flush out toxins
– Fuels your brain (which is about 75% water)
Apple Cider Vinegar (containing “mother”)
– lowers blood sugar levels and helps fight diabetes
– Increases satiety thus helping to eat fewer calories
– Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels reducing risk of heart disease
– Full of vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, B6, A, E, niacin thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and protein)
– Helps control high blood pressure
– Treats rheumatism and arthritis
– Relieves indigestion and constipation
– Full of soluble fibre: essential for digestive health
– Good source of iron: helps prevent anemia
– Also contains magnesium, manganese, and selenium: keeps bones and blood healthy
– Contain natural sugars for energy boost
– Contain potassium: reduces risk of heart disease and can lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
— SECOND COURSE —
- 260ml (about cup and a third) Water
- 40g (about half a cup) Porridge Oats – just plain oat flakes – NOT the “instant” oats that have added sugar. (147 calories)
- Grated Nutmeg
- Pinch of Cinnamon
- 4 x Walnut halves (56 calories)
- 1 x Dessert spoon Sultanas (30 calories)
- 2 x Dessert spoon Blueberries (12 calories)
- 1 x Banana (105 calories)
- Mix water and oats in bowl and microwave for about 3 to 4 mins.
- About half way through take out, add spices and stir. Keep an eye on it – when it starts to bubble up the container it’s done!
- Break walnuts and add to porridge along with sultanas, blueberries and sliced banana.
- Stir and let cool for 2 minutes.
– Helps lower cholesterol
– Soluble fibre that slows down the digestive process (feel fuller longer)
– Releases energy slowly
– The soluble fibre in oats help control blood glucose levels
– Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, iron and complex carbohydrates
– Rich in trace minerals potassium, calcium, iron and manganese keeping your immune system strong.
– Helps keep your gut healthy and brings relief from digestive problems
– Good for the brain: contains natural organic compounds called myristicin and macelignan which help protect the brain against degenerative diseases.
– Chock full of antioxidants: vital to detoxify the body of harmful molecules. Such oxidants have been linked to cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress can make LDL-cholestrerol stick to blood vessels causing atherosclerosis.
– Increases HDL (the “good”) cholesterol
– Has beneficial effect on Type 2 Diabetes blood markers
– Packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals (including B12).
– Rich in omega-3 and Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
– Helps prevent coronary heart disease – lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL)
– EFAs help improve bone health
– Improve metabolism
– Help control diabetes and the risk of diabetes
– Nutrient dense
– Packed with iron, potassium, phytonutrients and antioxidants
– Assists in lowering blood glucose levels, reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing triglycerides
– Decrease risks for developing heart disease and diabetes
– Good source of dietary fibre
– Full of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and Manganese
– Contain high level of antioxidants
– Good for maintaining bone structure and building bone strength
– Help to lower blood pressure
– Good for diabetics: improves blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels
– With their lack of cholesterol, blueberries supports heart health
– Help boost brain health: improves memory and slows cognitive decline
– Stuffed with important nutrients: fibre, vitamins and minerals
– Great source of potassium: lowers risk of heart disease
– Potassium is essential for blood pressure control and healthy kidney function
– May help relieve muscle cramps when exercising
– Low in calories but filling and easily digested
— THIRD COURSE —
- 2 Small cups x Black coffee (freshly ground). No sugar.
- or Green Tea (no milk or sugar)
– Reduces risk of stoke by up to 22%
– Decreases risk of type 2 diabetes
– Reduces risk of mouth and throat cancer by 50%
– Improves brain function
– Contains powerful antioxidants
– Increases fat burning and boosts the metabolic rate
– Helps reduce blood sugar levels and lowers risk of developing type 2 diabetes
– Green tea drinkers have lower risk of cardiovascular disease (up to 31% lower)
The good and the bad…
Caffeine can improve physical performance by mobilising fatty acids from fat tissues and making available to use as energy. This is a great morning booster.
However, too much caffeine can have some unpleasant side effects including dizziness, headaches, dehydration and irregular heart rhythm. Since it can also keep you awake at night, it may be prudent to keep caffeine consumption as a morning activity.
Does it work?
That’s the Super Power Mega Booster 3 Course Smart Breakfast that actual aids a weight loss programme. Does it work? It does for me. It’s the cornerstone of my diet. Over the past 3 years I’ve lost a third of my body weight. Of course there have been other dietary changes, but the early morning breakfast habit has been effective and powerful.
Forget the fat laden bacon butties, the cholesterol laden eggs, the sugar rich cereals. Give your health a chance. Start the day right. Live better. Live longer. Live Smarter.
If you want to know the nutritional benefits of the food you eat, this website has all the info you need.