Are you one of those breakfast skippers who thinks that morning fuel is overrated? Or perhaps you don’t hate on breakfast but you just can’t seem to find the time to squeeze in a meal before rushing out the door? Well, it’s time to rethink your morning routine because breakfast is not only important, it’s how to increase metabolism and set the stage for a healthier day ahead. In this blog, we’ll delve into the science behind breakfast and why it deserves its reputation as the most important meal of the day.
The Science Behind Your Metabolism
Before we dive into the benefits of breakfast, let’s first do a quick 101 on how your metabolism works. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories your body needs to perform its basic functions while at rest. This includes keeping your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and your brain functioning. As you age, your BMR decreases, but having more lean muscle mass can actually increase it, allowing you to burn more calories even at rest.
When you wake up in the morning, your metabolism is in a slower state, as your body has been in a fasting mode since the night before. This “powered down” mode is an energy-saving mechanism that helps conserve resources while you sleep. You can increase your metabolism and get it firing on all cylinders by having a nutritious breakfast.
The Power of Breakfast: How to Increase Your Metabolism
Think of breakfast like a key that unlocks your body’s metabolic engine. When you fuel properly in the morning, you initiate a process called thermogenesis, which is the production of heat in your body that stimulates your metabolism. It’s like giving your body a little jump-start and revving up its engine for the day ahead. Besides BMR, which is the body’s primary calorie burner, two other factors contribute to overall caloric output. These include activity-induced thermogenesis and diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), i.e., eating—yes, eating. DIT is also known as the thermic effect of food (TEF), which means that your body burns calories to digest the food you eat.
Breakfast and Weight Management
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds or maintain a healthy weight, breakfast may be your secret weapon. Several studies have found a link between eating breakfast and weight management. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that breakfast eaters tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and are more successful at maintaining weight loss compared to those who skip breakfast. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition reported that people who ate a high-protein breakfast felt fuller for longer and had reduced cravings throughout the day. Protein has a higher TEF and provides the highest satiety so starting your days with breakfast that includes protein is key to reaping breakfast benefits such as increasing your metabolism.
But that’s not all. Breakfast can also have a positive impact on your food choices throughout the day. When you start your day with a nutritious meal, you set a healthy tone for the rest of your meals. A healthy breakfast provides satiety and people who eat breakfast tend to make better food choices throughout the day, opting for nutrient-dense foods and eating less calories overall.
So, if you’re trying to slim down or maintain a healthy weight, make sure to fuel up with a balanced breakfast. Include a combination of protein, such as eggs, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese, as well as fiber-rich carbohydrates such as berries or sprouted grain toast. This combo will keep you satiated and energized, helping you avoid mindless snacking or overeating later on.
Breakfast for Brain Power
Not only does breakfast increase your metabolism and aid in weight management, but it also fuels your brain. Your brain relies on glucose, which comes from the carbohydrates you consume, as its primary source of energy. By having a breakfast with a source of complex carbohydrates, you provide your brain with fuel it needs to stay focused, alert, and sharp throughout the day.
Skipping breakfast can have a negative impact on cognitive function, memory, and attention span. In a study published in Physiology & Behavior, researchers found that school-age children who ate breakfast performed better on cognitive tests and had improved attention compared to those who skipped breakfast. The same holds true for adults. Starting your day with a brain-boosting breakfast can enhance your productivity, concentration, and overall cognitive performance.
Breakfast and Cardiovascular Health
Taking those couple of minutes to eat a healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast may have heart health benefits. This study shows how consuming breakfast daily may reduce the risk of various cardio-metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, strokes and cardiovascular mortality. So, it’s not just about eating breakfast to increase your metabolism, you’re doing your heart a big favor too.