You Won’t Want to Skip Breakfast Again After Reading This4 months ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nearly one quarter of individuals in the United States skip breakfast daily.
This is probably not shocking to you, as you likely may be one of those individuals who skip what has been called “the most important meal of the day.” Whether you’re getting your kids ready for school, getting a head start on your work emails or rushing out the door to conquer your long commute, it’s easy to practically forget to eat breakfast. And some of us just may not feel very hungry in the A.M. hours.
But if you workout, as you should as part of your overall health and wellness regimen, you may want to seriously consider carving out time in the morning to enjoy a well balanced breakfast.
New research shows that eating breakfast before exercising may influence the way your body responds to food after exercise. It may also affect how efficiently your body burns carbs during exercise. And this can play a role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
"This is the first study to examine the ways in which breakfast before exercise influences our responses to meals after exercise. We found that, compared to skipping breakfast, eating breakfast before exercise increases the speed at which we digest, absorb and metabolize carbohydrate that we may eat after exercise," said study lead Dr. Javier Gonzalez, in one report.
The study looked at 12 healthy men who either ate breakfast or did not before completing an hour of cycling. The men who ate breakfast had porridge with milk two hours before the workout.
After exercising, the men’s blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen levels were tested. (Glycogen is a stored form of glucose, a carbohydrate. It is made and stored in liver and muscle cells).
“We also found that breakfast before exercise increases carbohydrate burning during exercise, and that this carbohydrate wasn't just coming from the breakfast that was just eaten, but also from carbohydrate stored in our muscles as glycogen. This increase in the use of muscle glycogen may explain why there was more rapid clearance of blood sugar after 'lunch' when breakfast had been consumed before exercise,” said one of the other leads of the study.
Why We Should Care About Glycogen.
“Glycogen is an important fuel reserve for several reasons. The controlled breakdown of glycogen and release of glucose increase the amount of glucose that is available between meals. Hence, glycogen serves as a buffer to maintain blood-glucose levels,” reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
More research is needed, but this study suggests that breakfast is definitely not a meal you want to skip if you are exercising. If you are putting in the hard work and getting yourself to the gym or waking up for an early morning run or hike, then why not make the most of it by properly fueling your body?
But What About Working Out in a Fasted State?
There are some reports which suggest that working out in a fasted state may be beneficial. Some say that doing this will help the body get rid of excess fat stores.
But in other reports like this, a professor in the department of nutrition at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst suggests that “while exercising on an empty stomach may burn fat, it does not seem to be beneficial in the long run. And, if the fatigue means that you are not able to exercise at full performance, then you will also not be able to sustain as effective a workout."
Suggestions For Healthy, Quick Breakfasts When You’re On the Go
Ideally, you want to have a mix of carbs, protein and healthy fat. These are macronutrients you need to perform well during your workouts and recover afterwards.
Here are some easy breakfast ideas to keep in your arsenal.
- Overnight oats. This is a delicious breakfast you can prepare the night before, hence the name “overnight oats.” Check out this recipe here. What’s so great about this breakfast is you can change it up with the type of fruit, granola, yogurt or nuts you use. You can tailor it to how you like it. Don’t like yogurt? Leave it out and use a plant-based protein powder instead.
- Chia seed pudding. Check out this Basic Chia Seed Pudding. Again, you can tailor it to your liking and make it the night before.
- Egg muffins. When you meal prep, you can make a batch of these “muffins” for the week. Simply pop a few in the microwave, and you’re ready to go!
- Smoothie packs. To save time in the morning, always keep some handy.
Above are just a few suggestions. In reality, there are many easy and quick options. Even a slice of multigrain toast with peanut butter works. Remember, you are fueling your body and giving your body the nutrients it needs. Another tip I’ve heard is eating dinner leftovers. Who says you can’t have brown rice and chicken for breakfast?
So now you have no excuse if you skip breakfast!
Let’s enjoy our healthiest lives!
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