Do You Need to Eat Breakfast?

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Monday Morning Acu-Minute by Karen Johnson

Today’s This and That topic is Do You Need to Eat Breakfast?

Some people say you should never skip breakfast. Some say that it doesn’t matter, just eat when you get hungry. Some people don’t seem to get hungry until later in the day. Some people don’t eat because they are trying to reduce calories for weight reduction, or feel that if they start eating early in the day they will eat too much during the rest of the day.

Various studies do not conclude with certainty one way or another whether eating breakfast helps or hurts weight gain. But better questions to ask might include, does eating breakfast provide more energy for the day? Does it prevent snacking later in the day that might lead to weight gain? What impact does the food choice made at breakfast affect weight gain and energy level? How about the impact of what one ate the night before, and what time?

If one’s over all dietary habits are good (meaning a diet low in sugars, carbs and processed food) and weight is satisfactory, hunger is a good guide. Not hungry and doing well? Probably don’t need that breakfast.

Skipping Breakfast

But people who skip breakfast, AND are hungry may wind up so uncomfortable by mid morning that they grab for whatever sugary snack or coffee is available. This cycle may lead to blood sugar fluctuations, more snacking, lack of nutritional satisfaction, and weight gain. So, if you are hungry in the morning, you should eat!

But what should you eat? Common breakfast foods, like cereal or muffins are typically high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, which may be tasty and satisfying at first, but they tend to leave one hungry again within a short period of time. A better choice would be to have a meal made mostly of protein with some complex carbohydrate and some fruit. This will digest more slowly, providing better nutrition and longer satisfaction. This tends to reduce snacking later in the day, which supports weight loss and steady energy.

Another thing to consider is when one eats at night. Eating too late at night might lead to lack of appetite in the morning, which can start the cycle of irregular eating all over again.