Seven Powerful Benefits of Breakfast
“I have never seen anyone make a good body composition change who doesn't eat breakfast.”Unknown
You’ve heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it really? After all, intermittent fasting has taken the world by storm so it’s normal to wonder if there are really benefits to breakfast.
Benefits of Breakfast
Most people skip breakfast out of habit: You never got into the routine and don’t know what you are missing. In fact, you may be missing out on a lot:
#1: Stimulate Protein Synthesis
After an overnight fast in which your muscles are starved for amino acids, eating breakfast stops protein breakdown and kickstarts muscle building processes (1). Having a high-protein breakfast leads to the greatest increase in protein synthesis and also has benefits for managing appetite over the course of the day.
#2: Healthier Blood Sugar
A high-protein breakfast leads to steadier blood sugar and insulin levels compared to a lower protein, higher-carb meal (2). Reliable blood sugar levels lead to better mood, higher energy levels, and less preoccupation with food. They’re also the backbone of your metabolic health.
#3: Regulate Hunger For The Day
Another way breakfast fortifies your metabolism is by tamping down hunger hormones. A high-protein breakfast is especially helpful for managing hunger and helping you avoid overeating at subsequent meals. One study found that having breakfast reduced evening intake of junk food (3). A second trial by the same researchers found that students who had a high-protein breakfast ate 130 fewer calories at lunch than those who skipped breakfast (4).
#4: Protect Metabolic Health
Because skipping breakfast is associated with poor glycemic control, breakfast skippers are at increased risk of developing diabetes. One meta-analysis found that skipping breakfast once a week is associated a 6 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (5). Skipping breakfast 4 or 5 times per week increased risk of a diabetes diagnosis by an incredible 55 percent.
#5: Begin Daily Detoxification Processes
Getting your digestive tract moving in the morning is important for elimination. A high-protein breakfast can help, providing the amino acid building blocks that the liver uses for detoxification (6). Protein foods also provide antioxidant compounds that help the body eliminate heavy metals.
#6: Improve Mood
No one likes being hungry. It makes sense that getting food in your stomach after a night of rest leads to a more positive and even-keeled mood. The blood sugar irregularities associated with skipping breakfast increase irritability and fatigue. They also cause your body to produce excess cortisol, making you feel stressed and anxious.
Nutritionists emphasize the importance of developing a healthy breakfast habit containing protein, healthy fat, and fiber (7). A poor quality breakfast of sugar and simple carbs, such as donuts or sugary cereal, actually increases stress and depression compared to having no breakfast at all, whereas a high-quality breakfast has the opposite effect.
#7: Improve Mental Clarity
High-protein breakfasts provide the raw materials for the body to make energizing neurotransmitters associated with mental focus and cognition. These amino acids stimulate cells that are responsible for keeping us alert and energized. A mountain of research shows that a high-quality breakfast improves performance and attention in students of all ages (8).
Similar findings are evident among adults, though best results occur when workers eat breakfast prior to starting work. Eating breakfast at your desk while working is linked with worse performance and mood compared to those who eat before arriving at work (9). This may be partly due to the fact that the foods people eat at their desk tend to be processed foods high in fat and carbs that stimulate fatigue and low mood.
How To Get Started With A Breakfast Habit
While there can be times when fasting makes sense, as a general rule breakfast is a good habit to have. If you are in the market to put on muscle and minimize body fat, a high-quality breakfast is essential. This article shows you how to get started.
When you eat breakfast consistently you improve your energy, mental focus, and personal willpower. You lay the groundwork for healthy food choices so that you don’t overshoot your calorie needs over the course of the day. Breakfast also improves your energy, mental focus, and personal willpower. Start a breakfast habit today!
1. Karagounis, L., et al. Protein Intake at Breakfast Promotes a Positive Whole-Body Protein Balance in a Dose-Response Manner in Healthy Children: A Randomized Trial. Journal of Nutrition. 2018. 148(5),729-737.
2. Zeng, Y., et al. Influences of protein to energy ratios in breakfast on mood, alertness and attention in the healthy undergraduate students. Health. 3(6), 2011.
3. Leidy, H., Gwin, J. Breakfast Consumption Augments Appetite, Eating Behavior, and Exploratory Markers of Sleep Quality Compared with Skipping Breakfast in Healthy Young Adults. Current Developments In Nutrition. 2018. 2(11), Nzy074.
4. Leidy, J., Reki, E. The Addition of a Protein-Rich Breakfast and its Effects on Acute Control and Food Intake in “Breakfast-Skipping” Adolescents. International Journal of Obesity. 2010. 34, 1125-1133.
5. Ballon, A., et al. Breakfast Skipping Is Associated with Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes among Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Journal of Nutrition. 2019. 149(1), 106–113.
6. Hodges, R., Minich, D. Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2015.
7. Cascales-Ferrer, R., et al. Eat or Skip Breakfast? The Important Role of Breakfast Quality for Health-Related Quality of Life, Stress and Depression in Spanish Adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018. 15(8), 1781.