THE BREAKFAST MYTH
Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. You’ve probably heard it all before but perhaps you don’t really know why. So I’ll tell you….
The word BREAKFAST is actually made up of two words BREAK and FAST. Fasting is the name given to a period of time when you don’t eat. People may fast for many reasons, the most common being for diet, religion or detox purposes.
When we sleep at night we actually fast because we go through many hours of not eating. However, when we fast at night the body still needs to fuel itself as it goes through its repair processes, especially if you trained that day. If there’s no food in the system because you’ve already used it all it, the body goes into a catabolic state, which basically means it feeds off itself.
Yes, that is EXACTLY what happens.
Now, it would be great to think that it used the fat stores to feed off… but unfortunately life just isn’t that fair!
Instead, as fat is the purest source of fuel the body has, it will do everything it can to KEEP this until it REALLY needs to use it — such as if you find yourself shipwrecked on a desert Island with no food for example, not sure when that last happened to you.
Instead the body uses muscle as its energy source which is bad news for anyone looking at building any and bad news for anyone that really doesn’t want to lose any – and that should be everyone.
But don’t worry, because as soon as you wake up you break the fast by eating breakfast right? At least that’s what you should do. In fact in a recent study it was found that most people don’t eat breakfast — and they all had a jolly good reason for not doing so.
So do the math.
If you eat your last meal at 8.00pm, go to bed at midnight and wake up at 7am that’s a whopping 11 hours without food. If you then skip breakfast and eat your first bit of food at lunchtime that’s 16 hours without eating.
That only leaves 8 hours to provide all the fuel and QUALITY nutrients your body needs to function properly. For anyone thinking this is a great way to lose weight — STOP right there.
What this does is send starvation signals to the body and the body actually goes into a mega fat storing mode… a bit like a hamster might store food for when there’s none around. The metabolism then slows down making it harder to burn off the food that you do eat.
Skipping breakfast continues the catabolic process as the body still needs to fuel itself but because there’s no actual fuel going in (carbs, protein, healthy fats etc.) you’re going to feel lethargic, tired and miserable.
It will also affect your attention span. And if you train as well, you’ll have no real energy to get the best out of your training. So it will be a waste of time.
So, you’re bought in to the idea that you should be eating breakfast? Great….
What people then do is go out and buy the processed cereals that you find in the supermarkets. A recent study found that the majority of these are all high in sugar and fast absorbing unhealthy carbs.
AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE.
Instead go for a healthier choice like porridge, sweetened with fruit and / or cinnamon. Or if you don’t like porridge or don’t have time to make it (you could always prepare it the night before and let it soak overnight in the fridge), then go for something like shredded wheat sweetened with fruit and / or cinnamon – NOT sugar!
Be VERY careful of the marketing hype that this particular cereal is eaten by the current Olympic champion or famous footballer. It’s amazing what people will endorse when money is thrown at them. A lot of cereals branded as healthy are actually not. Check the back of the box. If it contains sugar or salt, it ain’t that good for you!
‘Low in fat’ is a very clever way of branding something as healthy. A lot of cereals are low in fat but loaded with sugar.
What happens when the body doesn’t burn up all the sugar it consumes? It stores it…….as fat!