Have you been skipping breakfast in the hope of losing weight faster? The morning meal has been surrounded with a lot of controversy lately, with some nutritionists claiming that skipping it entirely will help you stay healthy and lean, while others argue that eating breakfast is the key to preventing numerous diseases and unwanted weight gain. One study from the Harvard School of Public Health has shown that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of heart attack compared to men who regularly ate breakfast, while another recent study found a strong association between skipping breakfast and a higher risk of weight gain. Scientific research has also suggested that the people who don’t eat breakfast are generally hungrier during the rest of the day and tend to overeat at their next meals and eat at night.
Typically, when the skipped meal is breakfast, fat storage is accelerated. But this gets even worse – lately, many people in the health community have been replacing breakfast with bulletproof coffee, which is a homemade blend of coffee, butter and MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil which is supposed to “supercharge your brain function and create effortless fat loss with no cravings” but in reality has a very low nutritional value and offers only a bulk of empty calories.
These matters become even more complicated when it comes to bodybuilding. Bodybuilders who don’t eat breakfast or replace it with novelty drinks such as bulletproof coffee are at a higher risk of muscle loss, impaired muscle growth, metabolic damage and fat storage. We’re sure that some of you are usually not very hungry first thing in the morning and have to force yourself to eat something because you know that breakfast is important, and good for you. For the rest of the bodybuilding community, we’ve created this article to give you the most important reasons why you should always eat breakfast and how your morning meals should look like for optimal muscle nourishment and metabolic gains.
The benefits of eating a healthy breakfast
Remember that in the morning, your body is in a fasted state because it hasn’t received any nourishment for at least 6-8 hours. When the body goes for a long period of time without eating, your metabolism takes that as a sign that it may be a while before it gets food again so it slows down in an effort to conserve whatever fuel it has stored. By eating something as soon as you wake up you can jump start your metabolism once again, receive the fuel your body needs for a proper start of the day and eventually burn more calories over the entire course of the day. Besides, you’ll have more energy throughout the morning and your concentration levels will be at their best, so you’ll be better prepared for performing mental tasks and physical activities as well. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should eat a giant bowl of sugar-loaded cereals the first thing in the morning.
A high-protein breakfast produces a gradual and sustained increase in blood sugar, which means a consistent nutrient supply to the brain and the muscles.
Instead, you should aim to eat a high-protein breakfast every day because a protein-packed breakfast will help you stay full for longer and eat healthier throughout the whole day. Besides keeping you satisfied for a longer period of time, a high-protein breakfast will cause a gradual rise in blood sugar, which translates to a consistent nutrient supply to the brain and the muscles. It also increases the production of neurotransmitters in the brain associated with food reward and hunger control, and helps prevent cravings for sugar and junk food. More specifically, a study published in the Nutrition Journal found that eating 13 to 35 grams of protein at breakfast significantly increases the production of this brain chemicals. Furthermore, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, people who ate a high-protein breakfast ate almost 30% fewer calories at lunch than people who ate a low-protein breakfast, thanks to the beneficial effect of the peptide YY, a hormone responsible for telling your brain that you’re full.
On the other side, our insulin sensitivity has a natural circadian flow, which means that skeletal muscle is most sensitive in the morning and then experiences a gradual decline throughout the rest of the day, while fat tissue is the least sensitive in the morning. So, in other words, the more we eat later in the day, the more of our meal will be converted to fat. Furthermore, eating big meals late in the day has been linked to a sluggish metabolic rate, less carbohydrate oxidation and a decreased glucose tolerance. The calories we consume at a late dinner are the ideal candidates for storage in fat tissues, while the calories consumed at breakfast are primed for storage in muscle tissue. Also, eating a low-protein breakfast or skipping breakfast entirely raises our 24-hour fasting glucose levels, resulting with more frequent blood sugar crashes.
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