In 1954, nutritionist Adelle Davis told us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Although this idea was accepted widely and repeated by parents for generations, it still remains largely ignored. A recent survey by the NPD Group concluded that 31 million American adults skip breakfast each day. You may ask yourself, does the old adage still hold true?
Benefits of Breakfast
The short answer is yes, breakfast has always been and always will be the most important meal of the day. Adelle Davis’s science was good. According to the findings summarized in her book Let’s Eat Right to Stay Fit, the quantity and contents of one’s breakfast had a direct effect on their blood sugar levels, energy, and overall mood for the entire day. Her findings break down like this:
- Skipping breakfast left the body in “fasting mode”, resulting in low blood-sugar levels, lower energy, irritability, and strong sugar cravings throughout the day.
- High-carbohydrate breakfasts with low protein content resulted in a short energy spike in the morning, followed by hours of low-sugar levels, mood swings, and food cravings. This pattern tended to continue into the evening despite what was eaten at lunch.
- High-protein breakfasts with smaller amounts of carbohydrates and fats resulted in a slower digestion process, a slower intake of sugar, and higher blood-sugar levels throughout the day. High blood sugar and higher energy levels tended to create more cheerful subjects that maintained a better temperament through the entire day, irregardless of what was eaten for lunch.
These findings were recorded in the 1940s. Many might ask, does modern science agree? According to a study performed by the Research Institute for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases in 2011, breakfast continues to show a direct and long-lasting impact on metabolic and digestive health. In this study, the scientists concluded that breakfasts that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates are best for overall health.
Make a Change for You
According to the Adelle Davis formula, it’s not hard to figure out if your breakfast is sufficient to get you through the day. If you notice an abrupt drop in energy 1 – 2 hours after breakfast as well as repeated sugar cravings throughout the day, it’s very likely that your breakfast is not giving you what you need. Try incorporating more protein – such as eggs, meats, fish, and dairy products – into your breakfast and see if this changes your energy levels and moods for the rest of the day. The trick is finding the right balance between proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Bon appėtit!