Why is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day: The Simple Science of Breakfast

August 12, 2009 | Comments: 1 Comment

Categories: Nutrition, Uncategorized

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We hear it all of the time, but why is it so important? Here is the simple science behind the adage.

After a meal, the food is broken down into it basic parts: proteins, fats and carbohydrates (sugars). These parts will either be used to run the body right away, preferably sugar in the form of glucose, or they will be stored for later.

After a meal, there is plenty of glucose in the blood. Most of the glucose will be taken up into cells where it will be utilized to power all of the reactions necessary for life. Some of that glucose is gets into liver cells where it is linked one after the other to form very long strands and stored. These strands are called glycogen. Cells will use blood sugar first and then go to the liver glycogen as back up when blood sugar gets low. When the glycogen is gone, the body’s cellular processes (metabolism) begin to slow. They have to, there is no fuel there to power the reactions. Symptoms of low blood sugar ensue: fatigue, foggy headedness, loss of motor control, and nausea. The body can only go so long in this slow state and when it absolutely needs more fuel, the body begins to breakdown muscle for energy. Not fat, muscle.

Fat is a storage molecule and as such, isn’t that easy to break apart. Muscles are made of proteins, which are relatively easy to break down. If the body is out of glucose and looking for fuel RIGHT NOW, it is going to go to the place that will supply it the fastest, which is muscle, no matter how much fat you have.

You eat dinner around 7:30pm, go to bed around 11:00pm and wake up at 7:00am. It has been about 11 hours since your last meal. Can you go 11 hours during the day without eating? Probably not. You are literally starving, even if you aren’t hungry. All of your blood sugar is gone and your glycogen stores probably are, too. You need food within 30 minutes of waking up to replenish your glycogen, get fuel to your body and brain and avoid tapping into the muscle that you worked so hard to build.

Now you know. Skipping breakfast will not help you lose fat, but it can make you dizzy, unable to focus, cranky, lose muscle and prone to unhealthy snacking. Which seems easier, cracking open a hard-boiled egg or trying to make it through the day with shrinking muscles and a bad attitude? Feel better. Be healthy. Eat breakfast.

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One response to “Why is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day: The Simple Science of Breakfast”

  1. Brandie says:

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