Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Close your eyes and picture this: the lustrous crackling of bacon in a cast iron pan, the sizzle of pancakes on a hot buttered grill, the alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee… ahhh.

There is something about a full, balanced breakfast that just starts the day off on the right foot – but is breakfast really necessary? Some of us opt out of an early morning meal in exchange for a heavier lunch or dinner; however, this could have negative effects on the body.

Studies have shown that eating breakfast can help promote1:

  • Good health
  • Better memory and concentration
  • Lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol
  • Lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight

With so many health benefits, making sure to eat breakfast seems like a no-brainer, right? Yet, many of us are in a rush with the morning hustle and bustle to make the time to properly fuel our bodies. Skipping your morning munchies could leave your body feeling sluggish and lacking the energy it needs to keep you feeling focused throughout the day. Not only that, but skipping the first meal of the day may cause you to overeat later and that’s where the extra calories start sneaking up on you!

Here’s the catch though… having too big of a breakfast can actually do more harm than good. A study referenced on WebMD suggested that “people who had large breakfasts ate more during the day.”2 This may leave you thinking to yourself, should I eat breakfast then or skip it? Well, think of it this way. Food is fuel for our bodies. Think of the stomach as a tank for providing the ‘fuel’ our bodies need to properly function. The type of fuel you put into your tank is going to drastically affect the power you get out of it.

!! Tip: Stick with complex carbs, protein, fruit and/or vegetables, ideally paired with a calcium source.

Grabbing a donut on the way into work or opting for a quick packaged pastry with your morning coffee, may taste good in the moment. However, those empty calories are going to burn off quickly and leave your body dragging. Our registered dietitian, Debbie J., offers some healthy, well-balanced breakfast suggestions to swap in as a replacement for that morning treat.

  • Vegetarian: whole grain toast topped with 1/4 avocado, fried egg and roma tomato slices
  • Vegan: steel cut oatmeal with nuts, berries, cinnamon, dairy-free milk
  • Omnivore: Canadian bacon, whole wheat waffle and diced peaches or strawberries
  • Gluten-free: potatoes O’Brien, black bean & tomato salsa, 1/2 grapefruit

The Results

In yet another study published in the journal Obesity, researchers recruited 93 overweight women and put them on a 12-week long prescribed diet.3 All of the women participating in the study consumed a total of 1,400 healthy calories a day. The only difference was that half the group ate their largest meal at breakfast, while the other half ate their largest meal at lunch or dinner.

The results were significantly different! The group who ate their biggest meal at breakfast lost two and a half times the amount of weight as their counter group.4 The same group noticed improvements in belly fat, hunger levels, and fasting blood sugar levels! These noticeable differences seem to trend across multiple studies conducted on the benefits of breakfast.

A Message From the AHA

The American Heart Association even issued a statement noting that “planning and timing meals and snacks, such as not skipping breakfast and allocating more calories earlier in the day, might help reduce cardiovascular disease risk.”5 People who choose to forego breakfast, about 20 to 30% of U.S. adults6, are “more likely to are more likely to be obese, have inadequate nutrition, show evidence of impaired glucose metabolism or be diagnosed with diabetes.”7

Our Thoughts

So, is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Yes and no. More important than simply eating breakfast before starting your day is paying attention to what type of calories you’re consuming and focusing on balanced and controlled portioning. If you consume most of your calories during the morning, make sure to have a smaller meal for lunch and dinner. Having a larger meal in the morning may also help burn off more calories due to the fact that you have more time to be active before heading to bed.

Our advice? Go ahead and make time for breakfast, because a body lacking fuel is going to be less productive than a body energized with the nutrients necessary for a healthy day.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


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Healthy Lunch Suggestions For Work

Healthy Lunch Suggestions For Work

Question:

Two questions for you, actually! Hope you don’t mind!

1.) I’m struggling to think of easy, healthy options to take with me to work to eat for lunch. I’m not much of a meat eater, but I do like chicken. Any suggestions?

2.) I’m also struggling with the fact that it’s winter, and all my cravings seem to be the warm, unhealthy “comfort foods”. I’m lately craving mac and cheese, heavy soups, and things of that nature. Any suggestions for something that’s “warm and cuddly” without all the fat and calories? Thank you so much!

– Megan K.

Answer:

For easy, healthy lunch options my suggestion would be to assemble wraps and hearty salads/soups, or to use leftovers. Roll up some hummus, cucumber, tomato and feta in a spinach or sun-dried tomato tortilla. You can add a handful of beans and chicken breast strips to a pre-made salad in a bag. Since it takes a full can of soup (2 cups) to make a decent meal, pair the soup with raw produce so you don’t add sodium. Leftovers are quickest, of course – just place in the containers you’ll take to work when storing them.

Enjoy the comfort foods as a smaller side dishes instead of as a main entrée, or find ways to lighten the recipes. For instance, using low-fat cheese plus adding ham and peas in your mac & cheese, or having a scoop of the real thing accompanied by a grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli. A bisque soup or chowder pairs with whole grain bread sticks and celery stalks. My all-time favorite warm treat is made by spreading almond butter on freshly made rye toast, topping with apple slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and placing back under the broiler. Using fresh ingredients from room temperature (except meats/dairy) enhances the flavors and makes heating quick.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Is Coffee OK Before A Workout? | Q+A

Is Coffee OK Before A Workout? | Q+A

Question:

Is it OK to eat/drink an apple/coffee 1 hour before working out?

– Pavan

Answer:

Yes, an apple and cup of coffee are okay to eat/drink an hour before working out.

If your workout is intense and prolonged, you may want to supplement a little protein with the apple or a light workout drink during exercise. Alternatively, if you’ve eaten a LARGE meal within 3 hours prior to your workout, you can skip your described snack.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

7 + 1 =


Recommended Reading - Q+A

Member Spotlight | The Loss of a Loved One

Member Spotlight | The Loss of a Loved One

Shortly after John S. lost his wife of 53 years, he joined LA Fitness’ Silver Sneakers program in an effort to occupy his time. Unfortunately, more bad news still lay ahead. John was soon diagnosed with prostate cancer, causing him to spend two months in the hospital and another month in a rehab center. He was unable to lift or open a 16-ounce bottle of water. He was also unable to lift himself off the toilet seat and back into his wheelchair. It was a life-changing experience that this 80-year-old veteran and bible teacher never saw coming. Still, he persevered.

John S. with trainer Jenna N.

“To Jenna N. and LA Fitness, you have not only changed my life, but probably have saved it. With great sincerity and appreciation, I say ‘Thank You’.”

John S.

LA Fitness Member

John S. during his hospital stay.

When John was discharged from the rehab center, his wheelchair went with him. Over the course of the next year, John was required to wear a catheter and take a large number of prescription drugs. Slowly but surely, he went from a wheelchair, to a walker, and then to lifting weights. Once John was able to move around again (without the assistance of a wheelchair or walker), he began training at LA Fitness with Master Trainer, Jenna N. John shared, “Anyone can be inspired to exercise when your trainer is a 26-mile marathon runner.” Jenna was well-educated on which exercises would help improve John’s balance and coordination since he had previously been used to the assistance of either a wheelchair or walker.

Over time, John began getting stronger. In his words, “I went from prescription drugs to aspirin and black coffee, and no longer need a catheter. I am grateful for [my local] LA Fitness and their training program.” From having gone from three months bed confinement, with guests having to wear face masks when visiting him, John has come a long way to where is he today. When asked how having a trainer helped improve his overall health and fitness levels, John shared the following:

You may ask, ‘To work with a trainer, is it expensive?’, and I would ask you, ‘Being healthy or being sick?’ You do not know what I went through for those three months of bed confinement and prescription drugs. I understand that the medical team was doing the best they [could] having me as a patient. For days, my visitors had to wear a mask to visit me. Normal PSA (protein serum antigen) levels for a man are between 1 and 4. My PSA level was 234. Only an act of God could have kept me alive […] perhaps to write this testimony.

If you feel lost when it comes to where to begin your fitness journey, investing in a personal trainer may be the best place for you to start. LA Fitness offers a complimentary fitness assessment* with every membership. Every story has a beginning… what’s yours? Start writing it today at LA Fitness.

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

*Prior to fitness assessment, guest must show valid I.D. (must be 18 years of age or older) and complete a fitness analysis form. Scheduling of fitness assessment is subject to availability – it is recommended to call ahead and schedule an appointment. Limit one complimentary fitness assessment per person. Membership and/or personal training options may be presented.


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Ask A Trainer: Featured Question of the Week

Belly fat – we hate it! But, how do we get rid of it? The answer isn’t as simple as a miracle pill or doing 50 crunches a day, rather, it’s a combination of things. LA Fitness Pro Results® trainer, Kayla V. explains further.


Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

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**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.


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