Blanco County News
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Health and Wellness
The Breakfast Habit
Wellness Consultant
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 • Posted September 30, 2012 11:07 AM

The most commonly skipped meal is breakfast. Even people who do eat breakfast do not consume densely nutritious food. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies consistently show that children who eat breakfast perform better in school than children who do not. However, the reality is that many children do not eat breakfast, and of those that do, few choose nutritious foods.

After a good night’s sleep, the body requires food from protein and complex carbohydrates for fuel. Complex carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Protein is important to help sustain glucose levels throughout the day and between meals. If you don’t provide it, the body will access stored glycogen in the liver, eventually placing a lot of stress on that organ.

Eating nutritious, complex carbohydrate foods that are high in fiber fills the stomach, keeps blood sugar levels even, provides adequate energy and assists people in regaining and maintaining their health.

Researchers in England documented the effects of a high-fiber breakfast on snacking habits and food intake by comparing different breakfasts with identical calorie intake. Two of the breakfasts were high in fat and low in fiber - bacon and eggs breakfast with toast and grilled tomato, and croissants with margarine and jam. The participants who ate these breakfasts were hungry earlier and ate more snacks and larger portions at both lunch and dinner. Another group consumed a breakfast with 19 grams of fiber - bran cereal with banana and toast. The high fiber breakfast eaters snacked 75% less than those who ate the high fat breakfast and they ate much less overall- 987 calories less.

There’s an additional factor at work in terms of how the high fiber diet impacts weight and overall health. It reduces stress. When people eat a healthy breakfast, there is measurable reduction in stress hormone levels as opposed to when they skip it. This is important since stress hormones can contribute to weight gain, higher blood glucose levels, stress and anxiety can lead many people to snack more often.

People frequently cite lack of hunger as a reason for skipping breakfast. It won’t take long, once you start eating in the morning, for the hunger signal to return. Others state weight loss as the reason they started skipping breakfast. A recent study from Harvard University found that daily breakfast eaters were about 30% less likely to develop obesity or insulin resistance, compared to breakfast skippers. Other studies show that people who eat breakfast burn more calories throughout the day than people who do not.

Studies show that mental and physical performance, as well as overall health, depends on consuming breakfast daily: The UCLA Center for Health Sciences conducted a study that monitored 7,000 men and women. The study showed that men who rarely or sometimes ate breakfast had 40% higher death rates that those men who ate breakfast almost every day. Women who rarely or sometimes ate breakfast experience 28% higher death rates than those women who ate breakfast almost every day.

The University of Iowa did a long-term study that showed a direct relationship between eating a nutritious breakfast and mental and physical performance in both children and adults. Subjects who ate breakfast had faster reaction times and fewer accidents… were more productive and satisfied with their work performance during the late morning.

One important step to enhance your child’s learning ability is to make sure he or she gets breakfast. Studies show that without breakfast, children have more trouble concentrating and less speed and accuracy retrieving information from memory.

If your children aren’t hungry in the morning, look at their evening eating habits. Studies in adults have found that eating large amounts in the evening is associated with the lack of an appetite in the morning. When breakfast is eaten, nighttime hunger and eating tend to decrease and, after about two weeks, breakfast is often a much-enjoyed meal.

Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles are written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at or

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