Why Breakfast Still Matters (Despite What Some Studies Say)

June 05, 2017

Hello Pogis! Before we dive into this topic, we wanted to say how EXCITED we are to be launching a new product (less than a week to go!), the new and improved Pogamat XL! Click here to be the first to know when we go live and the mats are available!

Now, on to a “bran” new post….

For years, there was (and still is) the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for the health conscious. The concept states that breakfast contributes to a whole host of health benefits including but not limited to weight loss. Now, if you are a breakfast-lover, we aren’t here to burst your bubble. However, studies have shown and proven that both when you eat your meals, as well as how often you eat them does not really matter when it comes to weight loss. What truly matters is your intake of calories, what you consume and having a balance of the proper macronutrients (the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fats), combined with your workout habits that will truly determine your overall health and weight.

While there are mixed results as to whether or not eating breakfast contributes to weight loss, the bottom line is that, in order to maintain overall health, breakfast is a crucial meal to incorporate into your day (despite these studies). Now, it may not result in direct weight loss, but, bear with us. It just might give you the energy, focus and discipline that directly correspond to losing weight, staying healthy and getting in a productive workout. Rest easy breakfast buffs, here is why we think breakfast should be consumed each and every morning, and you just might not care about the weight loss piece any more.

Early Morning Workout

For the Early Morning Exerciser

For many, working out in the morning is the only time available to get to the gym or get an in-home session in. This could be due to a strenuous work schedule, or that it has to get done before the kids wake up, or to avoid losing the motivation to workout as the day goes on, or any combination of these and other factors. So, why would eating breakfast benefit the early morning workout?

There have been mixed reviews on the topic of eating before or after a workout and this could also varies between women and men. Whether you eat pre or post workout, the difference in calories burned is quite insignificant. At the end of the day it all boils down to calories burned vs. calories eaten. You need to fuel your body with energy prior to exercise so that you can get the most out of your workout so, we would suggest eating something light about an hour prior to the gym and then again within about a 2 hour window post gym.  After exercising, your body absorbs vitamins and minerals the best and needs food to build muscle. If you delay eating for two hours, your body may not build as much muscle. Another tip, try incorporating a meal that’s high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats like avocado or nuts into your post-workout meal (stay tuned for some easy, healthy breakfast recipes in a future post).Healthy Breakfast Foods

A few recommendations on pre gym snacks include:

– A serving of plain yogurt (add fruit and/or granola)

– An apple-and-peanut-butter combo (upgrade with raisins and chia seeds)

– A half a serving of a fruit and kale smoothie (add chia seeds and flaxseed)

Going a step further, according to an article published by Bodybuilding.com, eating before exercise promotes substantial increases in excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). More EPOC equals more fat burned. This favors eating prior to performing cardio. On top of that, fasted cardio can have a catabolic (induces the breakdown of larger molecules into several smaller building blocks) effect on muscle. Studies show that training in a glycogen-depleted state substantially increases the amount of tissue proteins burned for energy during exercise. To sum this up, the idea that performing cardio on an empty stomach (which is thought to burn fat at a higher rate) is misguided as the effects on body composition won’t be any better than if you trained in a fed state.

There’s also the intensity factor to consider. Research indicates that high-intensity interval training is more effective than steady-state cardio for fat loss. Protein losses can exceed 10 percent of the total calories burned over the course of a one-hour cardio session — more than double that of training in the fed state. If you have ever engage in a high-intensity workout on an empty stomach, you can probably attest to the fact that it did not go over too well (perhaps even making you feel lightheaded or sick). In order to perform at a high level, your body needs a ready source of glycogen. Without them, your body cannot perform which results in a wasted high-intensity workout.

Breakfast Can Serve as Weight Gain Prevention

If the argument states that eating breakfast does not aid in fat loss, then how on earth can it prevent weight gain? Sounds contradictory. However, it is really quite simple. According to BusinessInsider.com, breakfast ensures that you don’t overeat later in the day by helping to stabilize blood sugar (which prevents hunger pangs). If you eat something in the morning it will help stabilize your blood sugar levels, which helps keep hunger in control. If the first meal you’re eating is not until the afternoon, chances are your blood sugar will be low, which will translate to you feeling hangry (don’t worry, we’ve all been there!) and that can lead to you grabbing the first thing you can get your hands on. This often leads to the quick and easy food choice which is often not the healthiest.

So, while eating in the morning won’t burn more body-fat, it might help in other ways. Skipping breakfast makes you hungrier at lunchtime and a working lunch is usually full of stress, time constraints and not exactly the best nutrition. The honest truth for most people means that no breakfast and a poor lunch choice will inevitably result in junk food snacking during the day, poor dietary choices and over-eating. At the end of the day, all of of these directly correlate to weight gain.

Healthy Breakfast Option: YogurtBreakfast and Long-term Health Benefits

Long-term health and eating a morning meal might be more connected than you think, especially when it comes to heart and diabetes risk. A new statement from the American Heart Association (AHA), determines that eating breakfast, avoiding late-night eating and mindful meal-planning are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases and stroke. The best advice is, in the end, is to eat breakfast. Why? The AHA statement lays out important connections between eating habits and long-term health. People who eat breakfast, past studies have found, tend to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Skipping breakfast, on the other hand, is linked to obesity, poorer nutrition and even problems with glucose metabolism, including full-blown diabetes. Studies have also found that eating a larger breakfast, relative to lunch and dinner, is linked to better glucose and insulin levels than eating a larger dinner, relative to breakfast and lunch.

Ultimately, the Breakfast Choice is Yours

Eating breakfast should be made a priority to kick off the day, even if it is just a piece of fruit and some yogurt but ultimately, the choice is yours. Just be sure to choose a healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast and avoid those “sugar bombs”that are mistakenly called breakfast. If your body truly does not feel hungry in the morning, we suggest listening to your body but being thoughtful in how you will make up those nutrients needed, later in the day. However, if you feel hungry in the morning and want to begin incorporating healthy breakfast habits, go for it!

Now, trust us when we say we know what it’s like to catch yourself binging on coffee and free doughnuts in the office (or a giant bowl of Fruit Loops & Marshmallows cereal, just sayin’!). We suggest paying more attention to what you are doing and just noticing what your habits are, taking note for about a week. Then, if you want to make tweaks you can go about it in a more mindful and well-thought out manner. So often, when it comes to eating, we go for convenience over mindfulness. If you begin to pay attention to what you eat and when you eat it, you will begin to notice if you have set yourself up for unhealthy eating habits. If you are interested in making changes to your eating habits, see our post on 5 Steps to Health Goal Success. Preparation and planning is the best option for developing a habit of healthy morning eating, and will benefit you in the long run.

We also know what it’s like not be a morning person and to squeeze in every minute of sleep you can get in the morning hours and race around like a mad person getting ready before you have to be out the door. So, we’ve got your back! Stay tuned for some healthy breakfast ideas and recipes to go with them. Try incorporating breakfast into your routine for at least two weeks and see how you feel!

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