We have been long told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For years, experts have talked about how eating breakfast can jump-start your metabolism, help you control your weight, and energize you for the day ahead. But now some new information coming out suggests waiting to eat later in the morning or even skipping breakfast, as is done with intermittent fasting, may be equally beneficial. However, in my opinion, it is not when you break your overnight fast that is important, but how.
The foods you consume for that first meal of the day have a tremendous impact on your metabolism, your energy levels, and your mood.
The typical modern breakfast foods of cereals, bagels, muffins, sweetened yogurt, orange juice, and toast are loaded with sugar, white flour, and processed ingredients. In fact, many of these foods will have you consuming more sugar in one meal than is healthy for you to consume in an entire day! You may get an immediate surge of energy as the sugar hits your bloodstream, but this will, in turn, leave you feeling fatigued, mentally sluggish, moody, and even hungry as the day progresses.
After an overnight fast, our body is depleted of fuel and it is important to provide it with a composition of nutrients that can give us both the short-term energy we need to jump-start our day along with nutrients that will deliver sustained energy.
When preparing a balanced meal that will both nourisd sustain you, I like to use the analogy of building a fire in your fireplace. When you build a fire, the first thing you do is put down the logs. The logs are going to burn steadily and give off heat for hours. However, to get those logs to burning, you need some kind of kindling like newspaper, twigs, or kindling sticks. The kindling burns very hot and ignites the logs, but also burns out very quickly.
You can view proteins and fats as being your logs. Because of the complexity of these two nutrients, proteins and fats take longer to digest and breakdown so they provide a steady and continual source of energy over several hours. Additionally, they don’t have an impact on our blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates can be viewed as your kindling. They are digested very rapidly, they help provide that spark to your metabolism, but if eaten alone can set off a blood sugar roller coaster. Eating a breakfast high in simple sugars and carbohydrates can cause a surge of sugar into the bloodstream. This may give you an immediate boost of energy but will leave you feeling fatigued and hungry again an hour or two later when your blood sugar comes crashing down.
Combining a protein, a fat, and a carbohydrate in your first meal of the day will build a lasting metabolic fire that will fuel your brain and your body and allow you to meet the ongoing energy demands of your day.
And not only that, but the composition of your breakfast meal also plays a role in what you eat later in the day. When you feel better, have more energy, and are in a better mood, you are more likely to make healthier food choices for the rest of the day.
Humans are creatures of habit and sometimes it is hard to change our ways, so I have provided you with a Breakfast Makeover. Here you will find suggestions on how you can increase the nutrient complexity of some of your favorite breakfast foods so they fuel, not douse, your metabolic fire.
is a Physical Therapist,
Nutrition Consultant and
Doctor of Integrative Medicine.
She has been treating women with osteoporosis for over 30 years and is dedicated to helping people achieve
lasting good health and vitality.
Want to learn more about how you can improve your bone health? Contact me for a free 15 minute phone consult to learn more about the BONES Method™ and how it can help you achieve strong, healthy bones for life!