What's the fuss about breakfast?
What did you eat this morning? Do you regularly skip breakfast, grab something on the go, or do you have the luxury of eating something at home before rushing off?
So many people come to me complaining about lack of energy and feeling sleepy in the afternoons. They tend to prop themselves up with a succession of teas and coffees, and snack on biscuits and sweets in attempt to boost their flagging energy levels.
So what’s that got to do with breakfast then? Well, quite a lot actually. The old truth about breakfast being the most important meal of the day still stands.
I had a client recently who came to see me complaining that she felt constantly run down, was struggling to stay awake in the afternoons, and hated getting out of the bed in the morning. We went through some simple rules about food, helped her boost the nutrient content of her meals and talked about energy boosting (rather than energy zapping) snacks.
Three weeks later she was back, and told me she did feel less run down, but that her energy levels still weren’t that great. The reason soon became obvious – she was still skipping breakfast.
It’s quite simple really. You probably have your final meal of the day about 2 hours before going to bed, then sleep for 6-7 hours (I hope). By the following morning you have been fasting for closer to 9 hours. By skipping breakfast you are then asking your body to start performing without much fuel being easily available.
Your body has to dip into the reserves to provide you with energy, and this is done with the help of a selection of stress hormones. The stress hormones in turn will make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar levels steady. The highs and lows in the blood sugar levels correspond with your fluctuating energy levels.
So not only will you start the day in an energy ‘deficit’ which will be very difficult to correct throughout the day, but you will also be getting an injection of stress hormones before you even turn on your computer.
The simple solution is just to have breakfast. And preferably before you run out of the house in the morning. Just some live natural yoghurt with a banana chopped in would be great. Or perhaps some microwave porridge. Neither option takes more than 1 minute to prepare, and 3 minutes to eat.
If you really can’t fit breakfast in before you leave the house, you could always eat a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts on your way to work. Give it a go and see what happens to your energy levels.