Why is breakfast reported to be so important to being able to maintain a healthy nutritional regime? And why does a healthy breakfast need to be protein rich?
With the popularity of intermittent fasting like the 16 / 8 as well as life just getting in the way, more and more people seem to skip breakfast on a regular basis - whether out of choice or insufficient time.
However, multiple research papers continue to support the idea that having a healthy breakfast is the cornerstone to good health. The findings suggest that consuming a protein rich breakfast can increase energy expenditure over the day, improves appetite and helps to kill cravings, possibly due to the positive changes in hormones involved in appetite control after a meal.
Further, nourishing the body at regular intervals can help to moderate the circadian systems in the body. Skipping breakfast is thought to adversely affect these processes and impact the regulation of metabolism, eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight, and sleep - all of which contribute to the continuing cycle which keep many of us locked in poor habits.
So whilst intuitively skipping breakfast may feel like the best thing to do to support weight loss and therefore health, (because you are cutting calories), you may actually be doing more harm than good because not consuming enough calories in the day, may lead you to make poorer food choices in the evening (how many of you snack late at night) and usually on “bad” things, which can then affect the quality of sleep and therefore promote more cravings the following day.
While skipping breakfast may mean that you eat less in the short term, I believe that the negative effects, compounded over time, i.e. poor sleep, increased hunger, and unnecessary snacking make eating a healthy breakfast more appealing, and for the past 6 years, I have enjoyed a delicious, nutrient rich, bio-available superfood shake to start my day, every day … (apart from Cleanse Days, which is the type of intermittent fasting which I incorporate into my healthy lifestyle regime) which I can talk you through another time. What’s the difference between a fruit smoothie and a superfood smoothie? Quite often, people will turn their nose up at the thought of a shake as a meal replacement, but will quite happily down a smoothie - I know because I used to be one of those people! I was very wary of having a “processed” shake over a “real” fruit smoothie. Before I started my nutrition system, my standard breakfast was a smoothie made with a banana, berries, skimmed milk and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. Sometimes, I’d throw some chia seeds and a few nuts in for good measure too. However, at the age of 43 and months of struggling to release my muffin top, I finally admitted that what I was doing wasn’t working and said YES to my friend who’d been hounding me to try her “superfood” smoothies.
All I can say is, I wish I’d found them sooner! Once I felt the difference and saw the changes in my body, I started to look more closely at why and realised that these meal replacements were far more superior than anything I could whip up in my blender - I’m so glad I took my blinkers off.
If one of your goals is to improve your body composition by releasing fat, consuming fresh fruit smoothies could be counter productive: depending on what you are chucking in, you could be consuming way more calories than you think and despite them being “good” calories, they still count (and don’t get me started on the store bought variety). It’s worth noting too that most of our favourite fruits contain all sorts of chemical residues from the growing process and when we consume large amounts of them in smoothies, we are actually concentrating them in our body. I was also adding in the hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals contained in the cow’s milk which I was using in my smoothie and for those of you that favour soy, that’s not much better for you either. One of my nutritional system superfood smoothies is a completely balanced macro nutrient meal, with over 100 minerals, trace minerals, vitamins, digestive enzymes and fibre, for less than 240 calories per serving. Made from the highest quality undenatured whey protein (which means that it’s bio-available, free from chemicals and not subjected to high heat), sourced from grass-fed, free range “happy” New Zealand cows, there are no artificial colours, sweeteners, fillers or flavourings and they are non GMO and soy-free.
In fact, it would be impossible to match the same amount of clean nutrition for the same calories and for that matter, cost with “real” food. There’s also the ease and convenience of the shakes which makes them all the more appealing.
So 6 years later, at the age of 49, I am still enjoying a superfood smoothie or two every day as part of my nutritional regime. I still love to eat lots of fresh whole foods and indulge just like the next person, but because I am consistent with my healthy lifestyle choices for 80% of the time, I can enjoy myself when I feel the need.