• Tamsyn Wood

To breakfast or not to breakfast? That is the question...

There is great debate in the breakfast world- I imagine a mexican it's probably a very scary stand-off between the 'to breakfast-ers' and the 'not to breakfast-ers'. But how does this help us? I have put my thoughts down below, and as usual, will leave you to use your own noddles to work out what you think!

Will breakfast ‘kick start’ your metabolism?

When we eat, our body commences a variety of biological processes associated with digesting and storing food, which result in increased energy expenditure known as diet induced thermogenesis (DIT). So, yes, breakfast will kick start your metabolism. Great news for me, I LOVE my breakfast!

A recent study has even shown that this increase in expenditure is more noticeable in the morning than in the evening. However, do not be too quick to pin your hopes on this 'jump start' to offset the energy in your breakfast.

There might be, however, more to this than just the increased metabolism due to digestion. New evidence from a study of a group of people (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition), found that those assigned to eat breakfast used more energy through physical activity (particularly in the morning), than those fasting, but this might just be that skipping breakfast makes people feel less energetic so they reduce their levels of physical activity, without consciously realising it.

We know that skipping breakfast can cause the brain to be far more responsive to tastier foods, and that people often eat more if the skip breakfast.But in some laboratory studies, and in more 'normal' daily routine studies, the research has shown that skipping breakfast results in lower calorie intake over the course of the day than eating breakfast. So, despite greater hunger during the morning and some compensation in eating more for lunch, the effect of skipping breakfast doesn't seem great enough to make people eat enough calories to 'over-do' the calorie deficit in missing the morning meal.

Those in the 'To eat Breakfast' camp however, hear this and retort-

Some studies have indicated that starting your metabolism and breaking that fast by eating breakfast, does increase your overall metabolic rate by up to 15 %. Studies also show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing anything with a Mac... in front of it or nuts made of dough (doughnuts in case you're not that with it yet this morning)) can help give you:

  • A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals

  • Improved concentration and performance in the classroom or the office/work place of choice

  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity

  • Lower cholesterol levels.

It can help to stabilise blood sugar levels and thus with weight-loss, too.

None of this is helping me!

No, it seems that evidence is fairly inconclusive. However for me at least, I am quite firmly in the 'to eat breakfast' camp.

I would say that when we have skipped a meal, we feel more justified in the 'well, I missed a meal so I can compensate by eating this extra... (fill in the blank)'. Personally, by the time I have finished my evening meal (around 6/7 pm) to the point at which I break that fast roughly 12 hours later- I am ravenous, and feel fully deserving, and hugely ready, in eating my porridge! It gives me more energy, I am less distracted by wondering what I can eat at lunch as I am sooooo hungry. Therefore, I focus better and perform to my optimum ability. In eating breakfast, I am also putting my body under less strain.

My views are that in eating regularly, and eating the right way- i.e. breaking the fast WELL with wholesome foods, this is far healthier for you. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar dips, meaning you make less healthy choices as your body is craving something sweet to boost itself energy-wise. Eating less than every 3 hours can also put pressure on your body, it goes into 'starvation' mode, releasing cortisol, which tells your brain to store fat- contributing to the muffinous growth over those jeggings... !

My advice- eat breakfast, eat it well, eat the right breakfast.

love, break and fast out,

Tamsyn x