Understanding breakfast

Nov 18, 2020

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We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Is that really true? Where did the idea that breakfast is so important even come from? Our Brooksville Dietitian will answer your questions! We will investigate what breakfast means to different people, how the idea of specific breakfast foods and times came about.

The different takes on breakfast

Many people believe that breakfast does not refer to a meal eaten at a specific time (in this case in the morning), but to the meal that breaks the fast. Considering this mindset, this meal is incredibly important, regardless of the time it is eaten, as it sets a base for the subsequent meals, and replenishes the used up nutrients. Therefore, what you eat matters more than what time in the day you eat it.

However, the popular belief about breakfast seems to be different. Commonly, in the US breakfast food refers to specific types of foods eaten exclusively shortly after waking up in the morning – for example, the McDonald’s breakfast menu that finishes around 11:30am. Other socially accepted breakfast options include cereal, yogurt, instant oatmeal, bacon and eggs, which if purchased on-the-go, or made without care are oozing with sugar and fat.

As we have explained in our last article, fasting promotes the removal of redundant, or damaged components inside our bodies and uses the stores of energy and nutrients. Therefore the food you eat must be wholesome and varied. Some believe that the breakfast that will make you most productive should be carbohydrate dense, others believe it must be full of protein, fat and fibre. In fact, there is no “one recipe fits all”. What your ideal breakfast is depends on your dietary needs, fitness goals and health state. Although, one important molecule to replenish after an extended period of no eating is glutathione – a tripeptide involved in the building and repairing of tissues, production of crucial chemicals and immunity. It is naturally produced by the liver and is present in various foods. However, glutathione injections are recommended for people over 40 whose bodies are not as efficient at producing it.

Regardless of whether you eat a morning breakfast, or not, you must ensure that your daily meals supply the essential nutrients, which are utilized during the no-eating periods.

The history of breakfast

The history of breakfast is incredibly interesting. Heather Arndt Anderson, the author of Breakfast: A History. explains that the American breakfast came from Europe with colonization and the Protestant Reformation as eating breakfast was no longer categorised as gluttony. The early breakfast was not as exciting as a modern breakfast – it mostly consisted of foods that didn’t need refrigeration (as there wasn’t any available) like bread, leftovers, eggs and preserved meat. Breakfast was made of locally available produce, hence it did not differ much from any other meal.

Things started to change during the Industrial Revolution as food preservation, the workday and the idea of health changed. However, a huge contributor to the development of the standardised idea of breakfast that we know today was John Harvey Kellogg who developed Corn Flakes in the late 1800s. The advertisement tactics used by cereal companies to promote breakfast, are often referred to as propaganda. Marion Nestle, a nutrition researcher, says “Many – if not most – studies demonstrating that breakfast eaters are healthier and manage weight better than non-breakfast eaters were sponsored by Kellogg or other breakfast cereal companies whose businesses depend on people believing that breakfast means ready-to-eat cereal.”

The next big change to American breakfast habits came after the Second World War as women became active participants in the workforce. The former housewives no longer had the time to cook a nutritious breakfast for their families, hence the market for quick, industrially produced breakfasts boomed. This was further encouraged by the scaremongering over fat consumption and promotion of weight loss, which resulted in people opting for sweetened grain and dairy products for breakfast. Therefore, our preferred breakfast options, such as pancakes, breakfast bars, or instant oats stand side-by-side with our favorite desserts like cupcakes, ice cream or cakes in terms of calorie and sugar content.

The take home

There are many debates happening regarding all aspects of breakfast – from the definition itself to what foods can be classified as “breakfast”. Now that you understand the complex world of breakfast you can start to question the commonly acceptable ideas and opt for morning foods that suit your lifestyle best. Like all other meals, breakfast must have a high nutritional value, so always opt for a vivid variety of protein, fibre, fats and carbs. We recommend that you consult our professional dietitian for a thorough evaluation and advice customized to your specific needs! Our Weight loss and Wellness practice also provides hands-on services, such as glutathione injections for those struggling to produce it, or absorb it from food.

In our next article we will discuss the pros and cons of eating breakfast to investigate whether the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is a myth, or not. Also, we will make a recommendation about good breakfast options, regardless of your definition of breakfast.

Find out more about our Brooksville Dietitian

Our highly qualified weight loss experts at Batista Weight loss and Wellness: Susan West-Opyoke, RDLD; John Batista, M.D.; Stephanie, M.A; and Valerie, Office Staff, together have decades of experience working with weight loss patients.

At Batista Weight loss and Wellness we believe that successful weight loss depends on two factors – the knowledge about how to lose weight and following through on your weight loss plan. Our experts will provide you with a customized weight loss plan, and regular face-to-face interaction and motivation.

To create your own customized weight loss plan with us and achieve sustainable weight loss in Hudson don’t hesitate to contact us on (352) 600-3476 or drop us a visit at our clinic: 443 Mariner Blvd, Spring Hill, FL 34609, USA.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.