“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
…Have you heard that phrase a few times in your life? My guess is, probably so! You’ll hear it on TV ads all the time, and just about every medical advice website has an article claiming it’s a meal not to be missed.
Well, I’m about to throw a curveball at that widely accepted belief.
Here’s a question for you. Would you eat donuts for a “healthy” breakfast?
…Of course not! Right? Believe it or not, a majority of the products marketed as heart-healthy breakfast items, like granola, cereals, oatmeal, bagels, yogurt, and muffins, actually contain more sugar than a deep-fried, sugar-filled, sugar-coated donut.
Cereal is the classic example of a product the commercial food conglomerates intentionally mislabel and deceptively advertise as “healthy” or “heart healthy.”
For example, three popular cereals Corn Pops, Froot Loops, and Apple Jacks, recognizable to many, all contain 12 grams of sugar per serving (and almost zero fiber).
…the same 12 grams of sugar a Dunkin’ Donuts glazed donut contains.
Whoa! Does that surprise you? With a closer look at the ingredients of each, you shouldn’t be surprised. Both contain processed flour, sugar, and industrial oils.
Of course, nobody eats a donut thinking it’s a healthy choice for their morning meal. But the problem here is that many people choosing to eat some of these supposed healthy, common breakfast foods packed with carbs & sugars, are doing so based on the belief it’s good for them.
Whether you’re a person who is in a hurry and grabs something easy to eat on-the-go like a bagel, cup of yogurt, or a quick bowl of cereal before leaving home…
…or you’re a person who likes to have a large country-style breakfast complete with pancakes, hashbrowns, toast, biscuits, or fried potatoes, for all the energy you think it will give you…
…starting your day with high-glycemic, high-carb foods kickstart a vicious cycle of hunger and snacking. The wave of insulin your body produces to deal with the surge of sugar in the bloodstream results in low energy, brain fog, and cravings for more food throughout the day.
Many health & nutrition experts will point to studies that show those who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight, with a theory that those people end up eating more at lunch, dinner, and snacking throughout the day. However, these “studies” were only observational, which can’t prove cause and effect. Other qualities common in breakfast-eaters or breakfast-skippers might have greater impacts on their weight and waistlines than the meal itself.
This, of course, begs the question: “What’s A Better Alternative?”
#1 – Fill your breakfast plate with proteins & healthy fats:
If you must eat something in the morning, go for foods that offer protein, such as eggs, green smoothies, or bacon, and healthy fats like eggs cooked with grass-fed butter or coconut oil, with a side of sliced avocado.
#2 – Fasting:
That’s right, simply missing the morning meal, or only having something like fatty coffee (coffee with grass-fed butter or coconut oil) or bone broth, can provide substantial health benefits, as Abel James of Fat-Burning Man discusses in this piece. Abel points out that most of your energy comes not from your breakfast, but what you eat for dinner the night before, as he says, “The more nourishing and substantial your evening feast, the more you can do or longer you can go without eating the next day.”
Personally, I often start my mornings with a big cup of fatty coffee, which I make by blending my favorite brew of organic coffee with a tablespoon of grass-fed butter and a tablespoon of organic coconut oil. This gives me great energy from the healthy fats, and doesn’t result in a crash a couple hours later, or hunger & cravings later in the morning.
Who Should NOT Skip Breakfast:
- Children: they are growing while they sleep, and need a good quality breakfast to replenish their energy. Note that it should be of good quality, not including foods with grains or sugars. Instead of fruit juices and cereal or pancakes, go for eggs (fried, boiled, or omelets, there are many ways to make them), meat, and vegetables.
- Pregnant or nursing: You should eat regularly throughout the day to meet the increased caloric needs of a growing baby and/or milk production.
- Those recovering from eating disorders: It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food. If you have an eating disorder, please seek professional help. If you are recovering from an eating disorder, or have in the past, it’s not advisable to skip meals.
Check out these sources referenced in writing this article, for more information about the importance of either eating a high-quality breakfast, or none at all through proper intermittent fasting:
- Abel James, Fat-Burning Man – Intermittent Fasting 101: How To Drop Fat and Build Muscle Fast
- WebMD, Is Breakfast Really Your Most Important Meal?