Breakfast: useful or not?
"Eat breakfast like an emperor, lunch like a king and dinner like a beggar" - this is a common saying that everyone is probably familiar with. But is it really true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? You can find out the pros and cons of breakfast in today's blog post.Table of contents:
- What happens to our body at night?
- Pro breakfast
- Does eating breakfast help you lose weight?
- Have a protein-rich breakfast
- Contra breakfast
Current headlines such as "Breakfast makes you ill" or "Eating breakfast is as dangerous as smoking" are currently doing the rounds. For example, people who skip breakfast are said to be less likely to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes.
According to a survey conducted in Germany in 2008, 75% of the German population eat breakfast. Of these, 39% eat breakfast at home, 26% at work and 10% on the way to work. 16% of Germans only eat breakfast occasionally, 9% not at all. This makes Germany the country with the highest proportion of breakfast grouches in Europe. The reason for this is often the stressful working day. Nowadays, there is often no time during the week for a balanced breakfast in the morning, and even the morning coffee is drunk standing up or on the way to work.
What happens to our body during the night?
After dinner, glucose, amino acids and fats are transported into the blood packaged as chylomicrons (means of transport for fats). The blood sugar level rises after eating a carbohydrate-rich meal. The hormone insulin is then released into the blood by the pancreas. Insulin ensures that our body cells can absorb sugar (in the form of glucose) and the blood sugar level is lowered. It also stimulates glycogen synthesis in the muscles and liver, inhibits gluconeogenesis and stimulates protein synthesis. At the same time, the hormone inhibits the breakdown of fat, as the body has sufficient glucose available for energy production.During the night, the blood glucose level drops, which leads to a reduced release of insulin and an increased release of glucagon. Glucagon is the antagonist of insulin, which therefore increases the blood glucose level. Other hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are also released overnight, which also have a blood sugar-raising effect. The body then draws on energy stores in the form of carbohydrates and fats overnight.
Eating breakfast in the morning provides the body with energy. This makes you more efficient at work, university or school. In addition, people who eat breakfast suffer significantly less from food cravings. Various studies have also shown that skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.Does eating breakfast help you lose weight?
Whether breakfast makes you fat or not depends first and foremost on what food you eat. A balanced breakfast with plenty of wholemeal products provides the body with important micro and macronutrients and keeps you full for a long time. Fruit provides the body with vitamins and minerals. In contrast, sugary foods such as ready-made muesli, cornflakes or white flour products only provide "empty" calories, which are of no benefit to the body. The so-called simple carbohydrates do not fill you up for long and cause blood sugar levels to shoot up after a meal. This causes the pancreas to release so much insulin that the level quickly drops again. We then feel the urge to eat something as quickly as possible, the typical food cravings.
When losing weight, it is ultimately the daily calorie intake that determines whether you put on weight or not. It doesn't matter when or how much energy you consume during the day. At the end of the day, it's the energy balance that counts. For example, US researcher Dr David Allison found in a study of overweight adults that whether or not the test subjects ate breakfast had no effect on weight loss. However, a longitudinal study of 86 adolescents concluded that the adolescents who ate breakfast were less overweight after a year than those who skipped breakfast.
Eat a protein-rich breakfast
Sportspeople in particular have a high energy consumption and need to make sure they consume enough calories and protein. This is because muscle mass consumes more energy than fat mass. The first meal must therefore provide athletes with power and get the metabolism going. Breakfast should therefore consist of balanced, healthy foods and have a high protein content. This is because protein keeps you full for a long time and promotes the build-up of muscle mass. Our various protein powders are particularly suitable for covering your protein requirements. However, if you want a change, you can also try our protein pancakes or protein puddings.
Leidy et al (2015) examined 57 adolescents aged 19 years in their study; some of the adolescents ate a high-protein breakfast (35 g protein), the other group skipped breakfast and the third group ate a breakfast with a normal protein content (13 g). After 12 weeks, the effects on body weight, hunger and daily food intake of the individual groups were compared. The subjects with the high protein intake had not gained body fat compared to the other two groups and had eaten less during the day. The feeling of hunger was reduced with both the high-protein breakfast and the moderate protein content.
Skipping breakfast has no disadvantages for your health. It can even be beneficial - provided you can tolerate skipping a meal. Fasting for several hours has positive effects on the metabolism (also known as intermittent fasting or interval fasting) and was quite normal in the past. You can find a blog post on intermittent fasting here.
During fasting, the metabolism draws on existing fat deposits and fat burning works at full speed. In addition, insulin sensitivity is improved as blood sugar levels do not spike. As the metabolism does not switch to starvation mode during intermittent fasting, the yo-yo effect is also avoided. The regeneration processes that take place during the night can also be extended.Conclusion
Whether or not to eat breakfast depends primarily on your personal state of health. People who are generally not hungry in the morning should therefore not force themselves to eat breakfast. Instead, they eat in the late afternoon or evening. Early risers, on the other hand, need breakfast to start the day in a good mood.Sources:
- Berg J.M., Tymoczko J.L. and Stryer L. (2003) Biochemistry. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag Heidelberg, 5th edition, Berlin.