Sugar-laden breakfasts promote cravings and energy crashes during the rest of the day and should be replaced with nutrient-dense food containing fibre, good quality fats and small amounts of protein, according to health expert Vanessa Ascencao.
It can also be beneficial to eat your first meal of the day 12 to 16 hours after dinner the previous evening. “This is known as intermittent fasting and it trains the body to tap into fat stores rather than to rely on glucose for energy.”
Ascencao was responding to a new Australian study which found that eating breakfast may not be as important for weight loss as previously thought. Researchers found that those who ate breakfast consumed about 260 more calories a day than those who didn’t.
Those who skipped breakfast were also on average 0.44 kg lighter, and, contrary to common belief, did not feel hungrier later in the day or show a slower metabolic rate.
Ascencao said many people start their day with coffee or tea with milk and sugar, followed by a sugary cereal, yoghurts, muffins or toast, which all devoid of nutrients, disruptive to blood sugar levels and all of which impact negatively on energy levels and mood.
“Instead, we should break the fast with water, fibre, good quality fats and a small amount of protein to regulate blood sugar levels and nourish the body. The body functions best with nutrients, not calories so, after the 12 – 16 hour fast, choose nutrient-dense food such as a green juice and a salad with avo, rocket, lemon juice and hummus or egg or grilled fish and some almonds.
“Once the body can efficiently tap into fat stores for energy, we regain better appetite control. A high-quality and potent supplement such as green tea extract will also contribute to the process by providing nutrients and managing weight,” she added.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.