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Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

Back in the 1960s, Nutritionist Adelle Davis famously said: “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and dinner like a Pauper.” Since then, the debate over whether breakfast is the most important meal has continued to rage.

But is it true?

In a word – yes. Your first meal of the day holds power – it fuels your body and sets the tone for your day. Let’s examine the science to find out why.

Why is breakfast so critical?

Breakfast means ‘breaking the fast’ – that natural, overnight period of not-eating. Breakfast provides you with fuel for the day – and remember, food is fuel! Think of your body as a fireplace, and the food that you eat is the fuel that you burn in that fireplace. You want to choose slow-burning material (like complex carbs) that trickle energy into your system over time, instead of fast-burning stuff (like simple carbs) that break down quickly and release a rapid energy spike that disappears and leaves you craving more.

Interestingly, research shows that the time at which you eat breakfast doesn’t matter too much (so you can stop force-feeding yourself breakfast as soon as you’ve opened your eyes if you wish!).

What does matter is that you consume regular, punctuated meals rich in nourishing foods, giving yourself a natural fasting period overnight of up to 12 hours1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33002219/ (click here for more information on the benefits of time-restricted eating).

Although 1 in 4 adults in the UK reportedly skip breakfast in the hope that it will help them lose weight,2https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/breakfast-adults-skipping-meals-survey-b1840280.html, research shows that skipping breakfast doesn’t actually lead to weight loss.3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24847666/4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24898236/. On the contrary, research shows that those who eat breakfast regularly have a lower risk of developing obesity as well as type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8568444/

Think about it – ever find yourself skipping breakfast, only to reach for convenience foods mid-morning when that hunger hits? Starting your day with a nourishing, balanced meal can lead to healthier food choices later on.

What should I be eating for breakfast?

Your body needs a variety of foods to thrive and make it through the day – (complex, fibre-rich) carbohydrates for energy, protein to aid satiety and fat for energy storage and fat-soluble vitamin absorption!

Some great breakfast options include:

Why you should start your day with Kefir!

You can’t go wrong by starting your day with Kefir, whether it’s in a Gut-Brain Health Smoothie or neat before your breakfast of choice.

We recommend taking Kefir on an empty stomach and leaving around 15-20 minutes before eating solid foods because Kefir coats the inside of your intestine and adheres, giving the living probiotic bacteria the best chance to colonise. Having an empty intestine makes this process easier.

That being said, Kefir contains non-transient bacteria that survive the digestive process and permanently re-populate the gut, so it can be taken at any time of day (try to take around 15-20 minutes before meal times). Avoid taking it in the evening because it may give you an energy boost – though this could be exactly what you’re after first thing in the morning!

Why not check out this article: The Ultimate Gut-Healthy Breakfast

References

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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