Adelle Davis, an American author and nutritionist, said it well, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. According to the annual report of the International Food Information Council, while 90% of Americans know having breakfast is important for health and function, only 49% admit to eating breakfast every day (1). Research has shown the many benefits of including breakfast in your daily routine including weight loss, improved energy and concentration, improved physical endurance, and overall improvement of a quality diet.
After sleeping for eight hours, and being without food during the night, our brain and muscles need energy and fuel to function. Breaking this fast with consumption of a healthy meal including proteins and fats instead of a high carbohydrate meal has been shown to have the most benefit.
A study published by the International Journal of Obesity examined the influence of the type of foods and specific timing of intake on the development of abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and other cardiovascular disease-risk factors. These risk factors that occur together are known as “Metabolic Syndrome”. This research revealed that a carbohydrate-rich diet in the morning led to consuming a high-fat meal at the end of the day and saw increased weight gain, and other markers of the metabolic syndrome.
On the contrary, fat intake at the time of waking seems to turn on fat metabolism very efficiently and also turns on the ability to respond to different types of food later in the day (2). The research concluded that the first meal you have appears to program your metabolism for the rest of the day. It also found that a meal higher in fat content in the morning is best for your body’s ability to efficiently breakdown and utilize the components of a mixed diet, including carbohydrates, fats and protein throughout the day.
Sources of fat in which you would benefit most come from plant sources such as olive, coconut or canola oil, fish, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and avocados. These types of fat are known to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, increase energy, improve depression, and decrease inflammation. Eating more protein and fat helps keep the metabolic rate high, and the omega-3 fatty acids can actually help the body burn visceral abdominal fat (4).
Eggs are a great source of protein and fat for a morning breakfast choice but many people have the misconception regarding the egg and cholesterol connection. Numerous studies have supported that eggs have virtually nothing to do with raising your cholesterol. Some egg studies showed that eating 3 eggs a day for 30 days did increase the cholesterol but by producing HDL (good) cholesterol and bigger sized particles of LDL (bad) cholesterol. The larger sized LDL particles had no effect on the ratio between LDL and HDL, which suggests no major change in coronary risk (3).
One large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein (in both the yolk and the white). The yolk is also a source of zinc, B vitamins, vitamin A, iron, and other nutrients!
What should you avoid for breakfast?
You can easily eliminate all forms of grain based cereal off of your grocery list. When flour is refined to make cereal, the most nutritious part of the grain is removed, so the flour is essentially becomes a form of sugar deficient of minerals and vitamins. According to a report from Yale University’ Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, some cereals with the poorest ratings have health claims on the box and much of these are heavily marketed toward children. “Cereals marketed to kids have 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber and 60 percent more sodium than those aimed at adults (5).
Not sure where to start or need further advice? Getting a full comprehensive blood analysis can help determine what exactly you need to be consuming from a dietary and supplement standpoint and also help point out what you need to be avoiding. Working with your natural health care provider can help guide you to make the right choices for what is best for you.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas
For now, if you don’t eat breakfast…start! If you think you’ve been eating the wrong type of breakfast, try these ideas.
- Two poached eggs over 1/4 avocado drizzled with a little balsamic or fresh lemon.
- Free-range egg fried in just a touch of palm oil, topped with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper and onions…. served with a few strawberries or blueberries…add a couple pieces of nitrate free bacon (try Applegate Farm varieties)
- 1 avocado, chopped with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Mix with chopped mango.
- 4-6oz unsweetened coconut milk blended with 1 scoop of Jay Robb egg protein powder (chocolate or vanilla) and ½ cup crushed ice.
For a change:
Try a glass of coconut milk in the morning rather than cow’s milk. So Delicious has several varieties to choose from: original, unsweetened and vanilla. Original or Vanilla are the best for drinking purposes while Unsweetened is best for cooking.
Use coconut oil to spread on bread instead of butter
Thought we would throw this in for fun! Dairy Free Hot Chocolate:
1 cup So Delicious™ Coconut Milk Beverage
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder (baking)
1 tsp. unrefined coconut oil (room temperature)
1 Tbsp. unrefined sugar
Pour milk into medium saucepan and begin warming up.
Whisk cocoa into the milk. Continue to whisk while adding coconut oil and sweetener.
Let it cook about 4-5 minutes until it starts to bubble just a bit. Pour into a mug and enjoy
1. Birkbeck, John. Report Shows Many People Skip Breakfast. Everybody Nutrition News. Institute of Food Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University. June 2007
2. Bray et al. Time-of-day-dependent dietary fat consumption influences multiple cardiometabolic syndrome parameters in mice. International Journal of Obesity, 2010
3. University of California Berkeley. The Sunny Side of Egg. Wellness Letter, March 2008. http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/wl/2008/wlFeatured0308.html accessed on 27, Dec. 2011
4 Kleiner, Susan. The Powerfood Nutrition Plan: The Guy’s Guide to Getting Stronger, Leaner, Smarter, Healthier, Better Looking, Better Sex with Food! Rodale, 2005
5. Hellmich, Nancy. Kids’ cereals pour on the sugar and sodium. USA Today. 10/25/2009