The Big Deal about Breakfast

College of DuPage Nursing Student Erin Salach shared that mornings are a crazy time and every person longs for the ability to just get a few more minutes of shut-eye. The American lifestyle is busy and most of us usually have somewhere to be first-thing in the morning. This limits the amount of time that we have at home in the morning to prepare for our day.

Many of us have heard the urban legend, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” However, when confronted with why, many people are not able to provide substantial evidence as to why this meal trumps lunch and dinner. approximated that 8 to 12 percent of school-aged children skip breakfast. This turns into a habit which spreads to an even larger population in adolescents, of which, 20 to 30 percent skip this crucial meal. A study from 2011 by The NPD Group, a marketing research group, found that of the people who skip breakfast, the largest group of offenders is males 18-34 years of age.

When you are sleeping, your body enters a fasting state because of a high rate of cellular repair and lack of nutritional intake. This is where the name breakfast comes from, by eating, you are breaking the fast! Breakfast helps to kick start your metabolism by sending the message that the body can go ahead and use these calories because there will be continued access to energy throughout the day. When you skip breakfast, your metabolism questions whether there will be enough calories consumed throughout the day to meet body requirements and conserves calories instead of using them for cellular processes.

A study performed in 2003 by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that of 499 people whose diets and weights were tracked for a year, those who did not eat breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to be obese. In addition, another study by the Harvard School of Public Health from 2013 found that men who skip breakfast are 27% more likely to suffer from a heart attack or death from coronary artery disease than those who eat breakfast daily. This is attributed to the fact that those who skip breakfast tend to eat more later in the day than those who eat breakfast. They usually have a tendency to eat foods high in fat, cholesterol and salt, all of which are risk factors in the development of heart disease.

This topic is a controversial and there are many sources saying that eating breakfast is not actually important to maintaining a healthy weight and nutritional status. The key thing to consider in this debate is the quality the breakfast being eaten. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that a healthy breakfast is comprised of a variety of whole-grains, fruit, and calcium. Whole-grains are rich in fiber, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin which help provide to energy. Fiber has been known to be a protective nutrient in the prevention of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Additional fiber can be received by consuming fruits with breakfast. Calcium is an essential nutrient in the promotion and maintenance of bone growth. A great example of a nutritional breakfast that includes all of these essential components is overnight oats. You can find a recipe for this insanely easy-to-make, delicious and healthy breakfast here.

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