“One should not attend
even the end of the world
without a good breakfast.”Robert A. Heinlein
Breakfast: Myth v. Fact
As we consider what meals we’ll eat every day, perhaps no meal time has greater mystery around it than breakfast time. Breakfast has long been touted as “the most important meal of the day.” And if chain restaurants have taught us anything, it’s that breakfast isn’t complete without a hearty omelette with mountains of meat on the side, a stack of pancakes drowned in syrup, and a hot cup of coffee or maybe an orange juice chaser. Let’s take a moment and think about breakfast… See, you’re getting hungrier, aren’t you?
But maybe breakfast isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! Nearly 25 percent of Americans skip breakfast altogether! How important can it be when a quarter of the population doesn’t want to eat it? Maybe we’ve all got something to learn about breakfast! Let’s take a closer look at everyone’s favorite early morning meal. And as always, any changes to your diet should be done under the supervision of a nutrition expert.
Who came up with that name?
“Breakfast” gets its name for being the first meal of the day. After going so many hours without eating (or “fasting”) thanks to our good friend, sleep, your first meal of the day “breaks” that fast. Break-fast, breakfast! See? It’s more than just delicious!
But for those who wake up without an appetite, or are choosing to skip breakfast, their fast goes a little longer without being broken, sometimes extending to lunch time. In fact, people who practice a diet called “intermittent fasting” may go for up to sixteen hours without eating!
For those of us who eat breakfast everyday, the idea of skipping it might seem impossible. And for those of us who skip, the idea of eating breakfast might make you sick. But which is better for your health?
Your Body on Breakfast
A good breakfast is made up of three key components: carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. Not because we said so, but because science does!
Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for your body and mind. As your body digests the food you eat, it breaks the carbs down into glucose (a type of sugar) and enters your bloodstream — your blood sugar is the concentration of glucose in your bloodstream.
What to Avoid:
Simple carbohydrates, such as those found in white breads, pastries, canned fruits, and processed cereals, can cause spikes in your blood sugar, giving you a rush of energy followed by a crash.
Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and fresh fruits, digest more slowly so your energy is sustained for longer without peaking! A breakfast rich in complex carbs gives you enough energy to stay focused and alert all day (or at least until lunch time)!
Many complex carbohydrates are also high in fiber! Because foods high in fiber digest slower, that also means they’re more filling. Remember: fiber = filling! And more filling means you’ll be less hungry later on. But not only does fiber help regulate your appetite, and your blood sugar, but it’s also great for heart health. A high fiber diet has been shown to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.
And of course, fiber isn’t just heart-healthy, but it’s also bowel-healthy! Yes, fiber promotes regular, more comfortable bowel movements, but it also decreases the risk of hemorrhoids and even intestinal diseases like colorectal cancer. Fiber ain’t no joke!
The daily recommended fiber amount is 21-25 grams for women, and 31-38 grams for men. But the current average fiber intake in the United States is only 15 grams — only 5% of people even meet their daily recommendation! So chances are we all have a little extra room for fiber!
What to Avoid:
Again, stay away from simple carbohydrates.
Stick with complex carbs, and add in some leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, and kale, maybe some quinoa or chia seeds. Or as a treat, try some almonds and dark chocolate.
Or, if none of those options tickle your fancy, may we suggest some of our very own Naturlax® fiber products (in over 80 tasty, sugar-free flavors)!
Of course, breakfast isn’t complete without protein, and for good reason! Protein is what makes us big and strong! It helps preserve muscle mass when your body wants to burn fat.
But did you know eating protein both suppresses your appetite and boosts your metabolic rate, so you burn more calories — that means protein is actually good for weight loss!
So whether you’re more active or more sedentary, there’s a portion of protein that’s perfect for you! Just remember that people who eat more protein also tend to eat less fiber, so make sure your breakfast is balanced to get the full benefits!
What to Avoid:
For a lot of people, “protein” means bacon, ham, or sausage. Just mentioning them is enough to make a meat-eaters mouth water! Or maybe a protein supplement like a powder or a bar. And while those are all technically good sources of protein, they aren’t exactly the best for your health.
There are plenty of delicious, meat-free sources of protein like eggs and dairy, but animal-free alternatives include beans, nuts and nut butters, legumes, and soy products like tofu. And if you prefer to eat meat, healthier alternatives to beef and pork would be poultry or fish.
The Case Against Breakfast
Sometimes, we wake up and simply aren’t hungry! Or maybe you’re trying to cut calories, or on an intermittent fast, and you decide to skip breakfast altogether. How does that affect the rest of your day?
While breakfast has been shown to have many benefits, recent studies suggest there is no link between the decision to eat breakfast and any fluctuation in weight. To put it another way, eating breakfast doesn’t necessarily make you gain weight, and skipping breakfast doesn’t necessarily make you lose weight.
However, intermittent fasting can increase weight loss and improve metabolism. In theory, your body ends up burning more calories than it takes in. But in practice, this type of diet affects different individuals in different ways — for example, some people may react to a fast by eating larger, less nutritious meals later on in the day.
Again, before making any changes to your existing diet, consult a nutrition expert to determine the meal plan that’s best for you.
What are you drinking?
Typically, the two drinks that come to mind around breakfast time are fruit juice and coffee. After all, we did say fruit should be eaten at breakfast time for sustained energy. And on top of that, what provides more energy than a nice jolt of caffeine! But before pouring yourself a piping hot cup of joe, let’s dispel a few myths surrounding these breakfast staples.
Let’s Get Juiced!
Orange, apple, grape, and more! Whatever your preferred juice is, you’ve probably had some with breakfast. But what exactly goes into that juice you buy by the gallon at the supermarket?
Many popular brands of fruit “juice” actually contain surprisingly little fruit — they even say so right on the label! Some juices contain 5% or even less of actual fruit juice! Yes, while many fruit juices claim to be “100% juice,” they are actually made from concentrate, which means fruit with all the water taken out. Along with the water come all the essential nutrients like complex carbohydrates and fiber!
Even the fruit flavor starts to disappear when the juice is made from concentrate. So to make up for the loss of flavor, your juice may have flavor added to it in the form of high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners. Some fruit juices have the same amount of sugar per serving as soda!
So what should you do? If you decide to buy juice, always read the ingredient label for any additives, preservatives, or sweeteners added. Better yet, make your own juice at home using whole, fresh fruit! That way you retain all the natural flavor of the fruit, and you know nothing is being added that doesn’t belong.
Feeling Kinda Buzzed
Sometimes, it’s hard to get through the day without one, two, ten cups of coffee! And it makes sense — one cup of black coffee has about 100mg of caffeine, which your body absorbs in about 45 minutes after drinking. Of course, as with anything you consume, there are positives and negatives.
Caffeine is best known for the energy boost it causes — that may even be your favorite feature! Caffeine is also linked to improved memory function and lowered risk of diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease. And unlike many other stimulants, caffeine is not considered to be addictive.
That said, caffeine is not without its downsides. Of course, too much caffeine or intake of caffeine right before bed can disrupt your sleep. It can also cause dehydration, so it’s best to follow any cup of coffee with at least one cup of water. And while caffeine may not be considered addictive, there are many people who suffer from caffeine dependence. If someone who is caffeine dependent misses their morning cup of coffee, they may experience headache, anxiety, low energy/fatigue, or even tremors.
For someone looking to perk up without all those nasty side effects, we have something different:
Yum Matcha® contains a fraction of the caffeine found in a cup of coffee, which means you get the same boost of energy without all the jitters.
If you think less caffeine means less strength, think again! Yum Matcha® contains L-theanine, which slows down your body’s absorption of caffeine — that means a little caffeine goes a long way!
Plus, Yum Matcha® is packed with antioxidants for heart health and brain function. And without all the acid from brewing coffee, Yum Matcha® is even better for your mouth than just the taste!
Yum Matcha® is available in five delightful flavors, in bottles, and on-the-go packets. And if you have a sweet tooth, Yum Matcha® contains SweetenFX®, our all-natural sweetener made from debitterized stevia and erythritol.
But, if you simply must have coffee in the morning, don’t worry — SweetenFX® is available for all your beverages!Purchase all your favorite Yum Matcha® Products here: https://www.yummatchatea.com/
Whatever you start your day drinking, don’t forget a cup or two of water to go with it!
There are plenty of good choices you can make at breakfast time, and a whole lot more bad ones, which is why it’s best to consult a diet professional before making a choice on what to eat.
If you do decide to have breakfast, make sure you eat a meal with balanced portions of carbs, fiber, and protein. If you’re shopping for fruit juice, read ingredient labels to make sure you’re not putting anything in your body you don’t intend to. And for the best boost of energy in the morning, nothing beats a cup of Yum Matcha®.