Missing out on your breakfast is not good for the system and can actually lead to weight gain, studies have shown.
By skipping this meal, not only do you end up putting on weight, but also open the door to lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Hebrew University in Israel found that eating breakfast helps in regulating the post-meal glucose and insulin responses, hence improving our glycaemic control.
If you have breakfast before 9 30 am, it will improve the metabolism rate of your body, leading to weight loss.
“Skipping breakfast can not only make your metabolism dip, but also leave you lethargic. Since the brain needs fuel to function, you will end up craving for any food that is available later in the day, causing weight gain in the longer term. A good breakfast made up of carbohydrates and lean protein can help reduce cravings and overeating for the rest of the day,” says Dr Anil Mehta, general physician on Lybrate, Delhi.
But how exactly does skipping breakfast lead to weight gain?
“As the day wears on, serotonin levels dip, and you get cravings for chocolate, cookies, and other similar foods. Eating these causes an increase in serotonin levels and the body begins to associate good feelings with them, creating an addictive cycle,” explains Dr. Mehta.
But what if one gets up late in the day, like after 10 am? Then what is the correct time to have breakfast?
“Our body is primed to look for food when we wake up in the morning. So ideally we should have a healthy breakfast within two hours of waking up,” says Priyanka Verma, nutritionist, Portea Medical, Bangalore.
Weight gain aside, there are various other lifestyle related diseases we can save ourselves from, along with many benefits we can get if we have breakfast regularly.
Verma explains that breakfast has a number of benefits from as simple as providing energy in the morning to take on the day to kick-starting our metabolism.
It also makes the brain alert and activated, improves concentration levels, immunity and cognitive functions, she said. “It also helps avoid gas and acidity, boosts heart health and your mood, and keeps you calm,” she said.
Verma noted that since cortisol and adrenaline levels are at their peak in the morning, our brain needs instant energy, and eating too less or not eating at all can prompt it to look for another fuel source.
“This leads to activation of an emergency system, pulling energy from muscles and destroying muscle tissue in the process. When one eats later in the day, the body saves energy from the food as fat because the body and brain are still in high-alert mode,” she explained.