By Betty Murray
This won’t be the last time you’ll here this: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
A new report from Cornell University muddies the water a bit about the importance of breakfast, but don’t let the results of the study fool you. Skipping breakfast is not a healthy choice.
The Cornell study tracked calorie intake for 400 college-age students, half of whom ate breakfast and the other half who did not. Researchers found that the students who did not eat breakfast ate, on average, 400 fewer calories throughout the day than the students who did eat breakfast.
But the importance of breakfast isn’t simply about how many calories you eat. The study did not measure energy level, metabolism or cognitive function between the two groups. So, although the non-breakfast eaters may have consumed fewer calories, if they were lacking energy throughout the day, or had a lower metabolism, they could actually gain weight, compared to the breakfast eaters.
Skipping breakfast is also a poor choice for your heart health. A study by researchers at Harvard university tracked 27,000 men for 16 years. Researchers found that participants who skipped breakfast were 27 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack and significantly more likely to die from a heart attack.
Not eating breakfast puts your body under unnecessary stress. After essentially fasting for 8-12 hours while you sleep, your body needs fuel to function. Skipping breakfast can lead to insulin resistance, high cholesterol and high blood pressure — all of which can lead to weight gain and an unhealthy heart.
Eating breakfast keeps your body functions on track — blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin production. It is also fuel for your brain, stimulating cognitive function and providing the energy you need to start your day.
Experts suggest eating a 300 to 500-calorie breakfast within an hour of waking up, but don’t pour a bowl of cereal and call it good. Instead, focus on eating protein and a complex carb (such as a piece of fruit) in the morning.
Losing weight is a delicate balance of nutrition and fitness. But cutting calories by skipping a meal will only work against you. For a healthy, fit body, you need to fuel it with nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.