We all know it (because Mom said so) - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
Most of us have experienced the hunger pangs, grouchiness, memory problems, and low energy associated with skipping breakfast - and numerous studies have shown that breakfast eaters have better test scores, superior moods, and slimmer waistlines compared to breakfast skippers.
Adding to the many good reasons to eat breakfast in the morning, is a new study from Harvard researchers showing that eating breakfast also reduces your risk of developing diabetes (published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 95, pages 1182-1189).
The study looked at close to 30,000 men who were part of the multi-year Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Over the course of 16-years, men who tended to skip breakfast had a 21% increased risk of developing diabetes - and those who ate fewer than 3 times per day had a 25% risk of developing diabetes.
Previous studies have shown a link between skipping breakfast and subsequent weight gain - most likely due to changes in blood sugar, increases in appetite, and consumption of a larger proportion of calories later in the day.
However, this most recent analysis suggests that even without weight gain and irrespective of body weight, the practices of skipping breakfast and eating fewer than 3 times daily, still significantly increase diabetes risk. Moral of the story = you don't have to get fat to get diabetes - all you have to do is skip meals on a regular basis - and diabetes is likely to be your "reward."
The biological link between skipping meals and diabetes risk seems to center on stabilization of blood sugar. When blood sugar levels fluctuate too high, the body slows it's usage of fat as a source of calories - while fluctuation of blood sugar levels too low sends an alarm signal of "hunger" to the brain - so we tend to eat more food and store more calories as fat when our blood sugar is poorly balanced. See my video on the topic of Blood Sugar on YouTube - or read the chapter on Blood Sugar Balance in my Secret of Vigor book.
Eating breakfast - and consuming small meals throughout the day (up to 5 or 6 times) - helps to stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, and deliver superior fat-burning, appetite-control, energy levels, mental function, and overall health.
There are lots of ways to keep that steady flow of nutrients into your body with small frequent meals and snacks - and even just getting enough sleep. I also have a range of simple and tasty meal plans in my Cortisol Connection andCortisol Diet books - which means that there is never an excuse for skipping breakfast - or missing a meal. By eating small meals frequently throughout the day, getting adequate sleep, and controlling stress, you can make a huge impact on your ability to stabilize your blood sugar levels - to control appetite, manage body weight, and improve your personal health and performance.
About the Author:
Dr. Shawn Talbott is a Nutritional Biochemist (PhD - Rutgers) and Exercise Physiologist (MS - Umass). For breakfast this morning, he had a bowl of whole-grain oatmeal with cinnamon, blueberries, and hazelnuts.