The Truth About Breakfast and Your Health

When it comes to your well-being, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but fewer people eat a regular breakfast than they did 40 years ago. One reason for this may be that we eat more snacks these days, sometimes in place of meals.

Passing on breakfast can lead to weight gain, and that sets the stage for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes — all of which can lead to heart disease. For a heart-healthy breakfast, skip the fatty bacon and sausage. Instead, load up on fresh fruit and whole grains.

To keep yourself feeling fuller longer, add eggs. Eggs have protein, which takes your body longer to digest than the carbs in cereal and fruit. A high-protein breakfast can help you feel fuller for the rest of the day and may keep you from reaching for fatty snacks in the evening.

If you work out in the morning, try to eat about an hour before you hit the gym. Fueling up first will give you energy to work out and keep you from feeling faint.

A morning meal can help you stay at a healthy weight.  Breakfast may keep you from overeating the rest of the day.

Breakfast boosts your brainpower. Your brain runs on glucose, a type of sugar, and you’re low on this fuel when you first wake up. A morning meal can boost your memory, attention, focus, and alertness and help your performance at work or school. Case in point: Kids who have breakfast get better grades than those who don’t.

Breakfast gives you energy — not only does this make you more likely to exercise, but you also may tend to get up and move around in general. One study found that people who ate a morning meal burned 442 more calories through physical activity than those who skipped breakfast.

A healthy breakfast can keep your blood sugar steady, and over time, this can protect you from type 2 diabetes. One study shows that men who didn’t eat in the morning were 21% more likely to get the disease than those who did. Start your day with whole grains, such as oatmeal, cereal, or bread. They have fiber, which can also lower your diabetes risk.

A bowl of cereal can be a smart way to start your day — if you choose the right kind. High-fiber cereals can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Look at the labels to make sure you’re getting a good amount of fiber (5 grams or more) — and stay away from ones that have sugar among the first few ingredients.