For centuries, mothers have told their children that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. On a number of different levels and for different reasons, it turns out that once again, Mom knew exactly what she was talking about. Not only does eating breakfast have immediate short-term benefits, but this first meal of the day also yields additional benefits that reveal themselves over a period of time.
Metabolic boost. Breakfast is just that — the breaking of the fast. When your body has had to go for hours with no caloric intake, it responds by slowing down and burning fewer calories to conserve energy. By eating breakfast, a person “wakes up” their body’s metabolism and feeds it the calories required for the day ahead. Research studies have shown that people who eat breakfast regularly have a better chance of losing and maintaining weight than those people who don’t eat breakfast. The National Weight Control Registry has collated data showing that among the group of people who have lost 30 pounds or more, and who have been able to keep that weight off for a minimum of one year, the vast majority (approximately 90 percent) say that they eat breakfast most days of the week.
Impact of skipping breakfast. People who don’t regularly eat breakfast have a tendency to compensate for the lack of energy by eating snacks that are high in fat and sugar content. This can contribute to weight control problems and makes it difficult to establish consistent eating behaviors and patterns. Additionally, trying to compensate by eating high-sugar or high-fat snacks can cause a temporary rise in blood sugar, but will ultimately lead to a “crash” a couple of hours later. The tendency will be to “fix” that ebb in energy with yet another high-fat, high-sugar snack.
Boost brain power with breakfast. Breakfast eaters are more alert and have better results in cognitive memory testing than those who don’t eat breakfast. Multiple studies were given in the USDA’s Center for Nutritional Policy and Promotion Symposium that showed eating breakfast “improves memory and positively affects the tasks that require the retention of new information. Conversely, a hungry person can be apathetic, disinterested and irritable when confronted with difficult tasks. Breakfast is the key.”