What They Never Tell You About Breakfast…

What to expect: 5 minutes of debunking with practical tips you can apply right away

Did you know that we "rate" statements as more "true" if we've heard them before?

Which brings me to:

"breakfast is the most important meal of the day"

​^^^ Yep, I used to think this too.

And how many times have you heard people say this?

Do you believe "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" because of the science or simply because you've heard it sooooo many times that it MUST be true?

Before I go on, I just want to define "breakfast".

It is essentially "breaking the fast".

So whether you eat at 6 am, 8 am or 12pm for the first time, technically you are still "breaking the fast".

BUT I just want to refer to breakfast as the meal you eat pretty much straight away after waking.

Now, ​I currently DO eat breakfast (most days) at around 6 am. 

But it's simply because I'm going through a stage where I'm looking to get stronger and gain some muscle (whilst staying pretty lean) so having breakfast allows me to...EAT MORE.

After all, it's another sitting / opportunity for me to take in extra calories.

But for most (including myself in around 6 weeks time), the main goal is to lose weight and "get lean", especially with summer edging closer.

​And it's barely debatable that skipping breakfast leads to a lower overall food intake, which in turn, WILL lead to greater weight loss!

​The counter to this is:

"But I'll then overeat later in the day".

​Yes, you'll "overeat" (eat more later in the day), but because you've skipped a whole meal, you'll be unlikely to overeat to the extent that offsets how many calories you've saved!

So your OVERALL food intake is still more likely to be lower by skipping breakfast AKA the most important meal of the day

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And this is exactly how "fasting" diets "work".

Eat less meals and you'll probably eat less.

​Here's a few of my favourite breakfast "mantras":

  • "Breakfast will spike your metabolism"
  • "You must start your day with some healthy wholegrains"
  • "You'll store more fat by skipping breakfast"

​Put simply, anything will "spike" your metabolism. 

Eating a burger will spike your metabolism as it will trigger digestion, which burns calories. ​

​As for storing more fat by skipping breakfast...it simply comes down to OVERALL INTAKE.

Your body is burning and storing fat all day, but it's the NET BALANCE (energy in and energy out) that will determine whether you STORE or BURN fat!

​So am I saying breakfast is "bad"?

No.

Breakfast can and DOES work for many people.

For example, it can:

  • Improve cognitive function - you may think more clearly
  • Make people move more, perform better in their morning exercise, and result in them burning MORE CALORIES

​So, as with most things in nutrition, it depends.

If you're exercising early in the morning, then I'd generally recommend you eat before to help INCREASE your performance and burn more calories.​

But, much of the research saying that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" ​is based on "observational" studies. 

​They look at associations. 

The problem ​with this is that you can't be sure whether skipping breakfast caused weight gain OR whether it was because, "on average", these people drank more, ate more sugar, ate more fat, ATE MORE CALORIES and did less exercise...

​What we do know is that what works for you may not work for me.

I have clients who eat breakfast.

Just like I have clients who skip breakfast.

​In fact, one of my clients used to scoff down a bowl of porridge at 6 am even though she wasn't hungry and couldn't sit down because she was so busy sorting the kids out and getting ready.

She couldn't enjoy her food.

The Solution?

"skip" / "delay" the first meal of the day to a time where you can sit down and enjoy your food.

This way, she could eat more later in the day where she WAS HUNGRY and wanted to have something to SNACK on whilst watching TV with her family. ​

So, it depends.

And if you are a breakfast person, here's a few recommendations:

​1. Omelette with feta cheese, spinach and peppers

3 eggs, 40g feta cheese , spinach, onion and pepper fried in 1kcal fry spray

Protein: 25 g Fat: 22 g, Carbs: 5 g 

2. Protein chocolate porridge with blueberries

27g of oats (1 Quaker Oats sachet for example), 180ml milk (semi skimmed used here)

Microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring half way.

Then, add 1 handful of blueberries and stir in 1 scoop of chocolate (can be any flavour) protein powder.

Optional: add a teaspoon of honey and some Greek Yogurt!

Protein: 29 g, Fat: 7 g, Carbs: 34 g

3. Pancakes!!

40 g flour (I used gram flour as its wheat / gluten free but any will do), 1 egg, 40ml milk (semi skimmed / almond milk all works), 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 scoop of chocolate (or banana works well) flavour protein powder.

Optional: cocoa powder, honey or stevia to sweeten

Whisk / blend and fry just like a pancake using 1kcal fry spray. Top with some blueberries.

Protein: 34 g, Fat: 9 g, Carbs: 34 g

Take home:

  • Breakfast isn't magic
  • Breakfast isn't evil
  • It comes down to overall food intake across the day
  • If you go for breakfast, look to get some protein in to help keep you full and promote recovery
  • If you're exercising early and don't have the energy to exercise without breakfast, eat breakfast
  • If you're not hungry in the morning and don't enjoy breakfast...skip it...the breakfast boogeyman will not come and take you away despite what Snap, Crackle and Pop tell you... 

Do you eat breakfast? Let me know

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