Eat Breakfast Or Die?

By in Food & Nutrition, Health & Safety on 21 October 2008

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet even if it is, many of us take this fact for granted. One of the studies showed that in western countries like the United States and West-Europe, about 25% of the population skip breakfast. There are a lot of reasons why people skip breakfast. Some reasoned that they do not have enough food in the house, not enough time to prepare, while others, especially those on a diet, think that by not eating breakfast, they can cut off extra calories.

We should eat breakfast not just because it is a morning routine. Come to think of it, breakfast is the meal that follows dinner, in which the interval is quite long. By morning, our body’s glucose reserves are at the minimum. And just as we are about to start another day, it is but proper to refuel our body and replenish our blood glucose (sugar) by eating a healthy breakfast. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that people who eat breakfast are more likely to:

–    have improved concentration. This is because the human brain’s main source of energy is glucose and maintaining sufficient blood glucose will maximize brain functioning.

–    more physically active with longer endurance. By eating a healthy breakfast, your body has high energy levels that can sustain the whole day activity.

–    have decreased cholesterol level, thereby reducing the risk for cardiovascular
diseases. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast can consume less
dietary cholesterol than those who don’t.

–    have better weight control. By eating breakfast, you may reduce hunger later in the day or may make you choose light foods for the next meals. The diet acquired by most breakfast eaters are usually low-calorie and low-fat diet. Breakfast skippers, on the other hand, may feel hungry later in the day, having them tendencies to grab  any kind of food just to fill in their empty stomach. Unplanned diet may predispose one to eat high fat-containing foods, hence predisposing to obesity.

Recent research pointed out that the habit of skipping breakfast should be stopped. Researchers have found that the incidence of heart attacks, sudden death, and stroke peaks between 6:00am and noon. They believe that a physiologic mechanism in the body could explain this. They turned their attention to one of the blood products called platelets. [1]

Platelets are small components in blood that can stop bleeding. Like when we get a cut, platelets become activated causing them to clump together inside our arteries and form a plug that will seal the cut, eventually stopping the bleeding. But platelets can also be activated by some other factors. It is now known that platelets become most activated in the morning hours, leading to the formation of internal blood clots and posing the person in grave threat for stroke, heart attack and sudden death. However, a study performed at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland revealed platelets of subjects who consumed either a low or fat-free yogurt, orange juice, fruit and protein-rich food have significantly low levels of activated platelets. [1] Simply put: Eating a light, very low fat breakfast can modify the morning platelet activation, preventing blood clot formation and keeping you away from the potential risk of stroke and heart attack.

So if you are a person who skips breakfast, perhaps this will be a wake up call for you. It is about time to change that old habit before it is too late.


1)   Importance of having Breakfast – Why breakfast is important?


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