We have all been hearing it all the time since the time we were young kids growing up about how we should never skip breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day. However, currently most people skip out on this meal leaving them short for optimizing their cognitive abilities and attention spam. Not only does breakfast fuel your body for the day, it also keeps your metabolism working and blood glucose levels stabilized. Much research has been conducted on the health effects that breakfast has on your body. All research has concluded and agreed upon the idea that breakfast eaters have an increased nutrient intake and improved diet quality.
In a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics titled The Role of Breakfast in Health: Definition and Criteria for a Quality Breakfast, the study focuses on defining the components the facilitate a good breakfast. Therefore, most research done previously is vulnerable to individual study-participant interpretation and can cause different interpretations of data by researchers. As a result, because of the lack of a consistent definition for what constitutes a “good” breakfast, this limits consistent results to be drawn regarding how determining the health effects of breakfast eaters.
To analyze what constitutes a quality breakfast since it’s definition varies between people and country of origin, the study written in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics by dietitians defines this important meal that literarily “breaks” the fasting a long night of sleep as contributing 15-20% of daily caloric intake. In terms of food groups, breakfast should be customized to fit a healthy diet in accordance with the recommendations set out by My-Plate. It is preferable that the breakfast meal contains protein rich foods paired with carbohydrate rich foods that are nutrients dense in aims of restoring glycogen stores after an extended period of time fasting while sleeping.
Protein sources in your breakfast meal include examples like eggs, low fat to fat free dairy, nuts and legumes, and lean meats with particular attention to low fat content and low sodium. As further explained in the study, “Eggs provide vitamins A and B-12 and potassium; lean meat provides B vitamins, zinc, iron, choline, and conjugated linoleic acid. Legumes, consumed most often by Hispanic Americans, are rich sources of dietary fiber, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Nuts, which might be consumed most often at the breakfast meal in cereals and other grain products, provide monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, vitamins E and K, folate, magnesium, copper, selenium, and potassium.Low-fat and fat-free dairy products are important sources of carbohydrates, vitamins A and D, riboflavin, calcium, and potassium” (The Role of Breakfast in Health). Not only does protein increase satiety throughout the day, it also alters hormones in the body that control food intake regulation.
Whole grains coming from bread and cereal is another important component that should be part of the breakfast meal because of their tendency to be high in fiber, a nutrient of concern that is vital for proper digestion. Ready to eat cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving have been shown to play a vital role in combating heart disease, obesity, cancer, and digestive diseases.
Fruits and vegetables is another group that should be part of the breakfast meal. Unfortunately, this group tends to be under consumed by almost al age groups of those in the US, but its importance is vital and extremely important in terms of providing nutrients and fiber that are crucial for proper health. Whole fruits, 100% fruit juices, and frozen fruit provide vital nutrients like fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D(if fortified).
Across the world from country to country, breakfast varies! Take a look at what breakfast is like across the world with this video!
O’neil, Carol E., Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Dayle Hayes, Laura Jana, Sylvia E. Klinger, and Susan Stephenson-Martin. “The Role of Breakfast in Health: Definition and Criteria for a Quality Breakfast.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114.12 (2014): n. pag. Web.