An Australian dietitian has answered the common questions she is regularly asked by clients about breakfast – including whether it is really the most important meal of the day and if it’s necessary to kickstart your metabolism.
Chloe McLeod, from Sydney, said people often fall into the breakfast or no breakfast camp, and either of these can be fine provided you know your routine, exercise regime and whether you’re likely to overeat later.
Chloe also shared the benefits of eating breakfast, but said not everyone needs these. So what do you need to know?
First up, Chloe said you need to figure out whether breakfast is important for you or not.
‘Breakfast is especially important if you exercise in the morning, are hungry when you wake up, don’t have a lunch break till later in the day or snack a lot in the afternoon,’ she told Bed Threads.
You need it if you regularly engage in high-intensity exercise first thing, as breakfast will help to replenish your glucose or energy stores and assist with muscle repair.
Similarly, breakfast is an obvious go-to if your body regularly tells you that you’re hungry when you wake up, and if you often don’t get to eat lunch before 2pm, you should definitely eat something – as this is too long to go without fuel.
‘If you find that you snack a lot in the afternoon, this may be due to not eating enough in the morning too,’ Chloe said.
Try to aim for a balanced breakfast that has good carbs, protein, fat and fruit and vegetables.
That way, you should stay full until lunchtime and be less hungry for unhealthy snacks later in the day.
On the flipside, the dietitian explained that there are plenty of people who don’t need breakfast.
Breakfast isn’t so important if you’re not hungry when you wake up, you don’t exercise when you wake up and if you’re trying to cut calories.
‘If you are genuinely not hungry when you wake up, then don’t eat,’ she said.
Listening to your hunger cues is important, but always be prepared that you might get peckish before lunchtime, so carry a healthy snack in your handbag just in case.
Finally, if you’re on a calorie cutting diet, it might be helpful to skip breakfast – as this will automatically reduce your calorie intake.
Whether you think it’s important or not, there are myriad benefits to eating breakfast – including increased energy levels, improved glucose control in the afternoon and better concentration through the day.
‘Eating breakfast may help stabilise blood sugar, and as such energy levels across the day, by reducing peaks and troughs in your blood sugar levels,’ Chloe explained.
She highlighted that studies have also shown that those who eat breakfast are typically more active during the day – as they have more energy.
Finally, breakfast is good because it helps with muscle growth and repair – which is vital if you’re doing any sort of exercise.
Finally, Chloe tackled the long-held myth that breakfast kickstarts your metabolism, and is therefore bad as it will make you get hungrier earlier than you would otherwise.
She said that recent studies have shown this isn’t true.
‘A randomised control trial (the best quality research study) found that people who decided to eat breakfast had no change in metabolism compared to people who skipped breakfast,’ she said.
What’s more, there was no difference in the amount of calories burnt during the day between the two groups.