Wellness Tip: Challenge yourself to eat breakfast daily!

March 2017

Typical American Breakfasts

A century ago, American farmers and city-dwellers alike piled breakfast plates high with meat, potatoes, gravy, eggs, bread, and sometimes pastries. Not much has changed.

A 21st century leisurely breakfast often consists of sausage or bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, gravy, and waffles or pancakes smothered in butter and syrup or topped with sweetened fruit compote and whipped cream. This breakfast is high in saturated fat and low in vitamins and other important nutrients. People who engage in regular hard work similar to our ancestors, like the Amish, might get away with eating that diet, but the rest of America is at increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.

Another typical breakfast hurriedly gobbled down before children and adults rush out the door is a bowl of sugarcoated cereal. An alternate version is a pastry and a cup of coffee. These foods are highly processed and high in sugar. They fill the void and give you a quick flash of energy, but the effect is short lived. By mid-morning, you’re tired and hungry. Not only are you consuming empty calories, but you’re also increasing your risk of diabetes and obesity.

Why eat breakfast?

Either because of time constraints or the desire to lose weight, at least 17% of Americans regularly skip the morning meal. But to meet the demands of a busy day, your body and mind need the required nutrients and energy a well-balanced breakfast provides. People who do not eat a healthy breakfast experience a “let down” or low energy levels later in the morning.

Skipping breakfast leads to:

  • Impaired ability to think and concentrate.
  • Decreased ability to learn.
  • Increased stress hormones, irritability and emotional arousal (how calm do you feel when you’re very hungry?), and a higher accident rate.
  • Increased obesity. When comparing breakfast eaters to breakfast skippers, studies show that breakfast skippers have a greater tendency to be overweight.
  • Feeling tired with decreased physical performance (food provides energy for both physical and mental work).
  • Large population studies show that those who eat breakfast daily live longer than those who tend to skip breakfast.

Eating regular meals – especially breakfast – every day is a good health habit. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, provides fuel for your mind, and cuts down on mid-morning snacking. Most snack foods are high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt, and low in nutrients. This is probably one reason why breakfast skippers tend to weigh more.

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