Battling obesity in our society is becoming increasingly challenging. Children are moving even less now than they were 20 years ago with the advent of the Internet and mobile devices. Choosing the proper foods is also a problem amongst not only children, but even adults. This topic can be discussed and debated from many different angles such as whether or not we should be eating meat or drinking milk to how many many calories we should be consuming a day. Newer evidence suggests counting calories is not as important as once believed and that it’s the type of foods we eat which could be creating the obesity problem. Specifically, the low fat diet is one to blame for the increasing incidence of obesity. By abandoning fatty foods and replacing them with more refined carbohydrates, or bodies will convert and store the carbohydrates as fat. This also increases our insulin release to store carbohydrates and we begin burning sugar as our main source of fuel as opposed to fat. By studying ultra-runners, as this sport has becoming increasingly popular, we have learned that our bodies can become extremely efficient in burning fat allowing some runners to complete events of 18 hours or more without fueling.
One of the meals that really leads people in the wrong direction is breakfast. This meal is unique in that it is one of our only meals that has categories of foods which are typically only consumed for breakfast. These foods tend to be refined carbohydrates such as breads, bagels, muffins, croissants, waffles, pancakes, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cereals, breakfast bars, pastries, toast (more bread!) and so on. Remember, eating one slice of bread has the same glycemic index as a Snickers Bar. Add to this your orange juice and you’ve ready loaded yourself up with an extraordinary amount of sugars to be stored as fat.
What would happen if you had a salad for breakfast? Chances are someone would make the comment, “That’s what your having for breakfast?!”. If you ate this for lunch or dinner it would be no big deal and probably not catch anyone’s attention but eat it for breakfast and your a weirdo!
The point that I’m trying to make is one of our most important meals of the day where we are replenishing our bodies with the nutrients it used during sleep. Fueling up on refined carbohydrates basically does nothing but add to stored belly fat. Read this section from Phil Maffetone’s latest book, The Endurance Handbook.
First Meal-Fat Storage
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it replaces lost nutrients in the body used during sleep. Skipping this meal is one of the worst bad nutrition habits because it can contribute to a big belly. It’s important to eat soon after wakening, but not by breaking your all-night fast with just any food.
Many of my new patients who did not eat breakfast were the least healthy and least fit. When asked why no breakfast, a common response was because it made them too hungry throughout the day. Those individuals also had more excess belly fat.
A reason for being hungry all day after eating breakfast is the consumption of a high glycemic meal. Whether cereal, a bagel or muffin, toast, or other refined carbohydrate, this eating pattern is a recipe for too much belly fat. Eating healthy meals, and more frequently, can improve metabolism and help the body burn more fat.
These lifestyle adjustments can help reduce belly fat, slim you down all over, and increase energy and brainpower. In addition, the aerobic system will improve too, helping to reduce injuries, and allow you to train and race faster.
As most already know, the reason refined carbohydrates—and even too much of the natural forms (and sometimes too much protein)—convert to stored fat and reduces fat burning has to do with the hormone insulin.
So what am I getting at? Our society has really ruined one if the most important meals associating these aforementioned foods with breakfast. It has become instilled into the minds of our kids who then pass along to their kids the unhealthy habits of eating these “breakfast foods”.
What should you eat for breakfast? The same foods you would eat for lunch, dinner, or a snack. Something whole, natural, and in its purest form. Not what is considered a “breakfast food”.