To understand the importance of eating breakfast, a basic knowledge of what happens to food when we eat is needed. Very simply, the body breaks down food with enzymes in the digestive system. Carbs are reduced to simple sugars, proteins to fatty acids, and fats into fatty acids. These compounds are absorbed into the blood stream, and then to individual cells, where other enzymes regulate them. The enzymes are then released or stored for future use.
The human body needs food to produce the enzymes for metabolizing food. Let’s say you sleep for eight hours a night. You grab only a cup of coffee and don’t eat until lunch or later. Most of your calories are consumed by snacking late in the day, and by eating supper. So your eating is concentrated over six or so hours. Your body has a very limited time to break down and all the food you eat in that short amount of time. Consequently, most of it is stored in the body, and not used throughout the day.
Recent studies by different health organizations, including the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, have shown proof that eating breakfast aids weight loss. Eating breakfast not only helps you spread your caloric intake throughout the day, it also gets your metabolism going early. You have a lot better chance of burning calories all through the day when you jump start the process with breakfast. Eating breakfast also helps avoid eating larger amounts of food at lunch and supper and helps surpress those late afternoon snack attacks.
People who eat breakfast generally eat less throughout the rest of the day, and tend to exercise more. When the body starts processing food early, energy levels are more evenly maintained throughout the day. In other words, you might find that you actually have the strength to take the stairs instead of the elevator during the day.
A decent breakfast isn’t hard to come by. Keep an airtight container of breakfast cereal by the computer if you check e-mail in the morning, and munch on it while you’re having your morning coffee. Then grab a piece of fruit on your way out the door. Keep low-fat yogurt on hand. Make a peanut butter sandwich with whole wheat bread for breakfast. Keep cut up vegetables in your refrigerator for an easy early breakfast. Sitting down to a breakfast of bacon and eggs daily isn’t necessary. You only need something nutritious to start the day off right. A little exercise every day doesn’t hurt a bit either.