Beware of the 3 worst breakfast habits of most Americans.
It is all too common that people set themselves up for failure first thing in the morning with these three habits. These habits are based off of commonly accepted myths. For the sake of article length, I am only going to explain how improper breakfast habits will slow down progress towards a weight loss goal. Without wasting time let’s dive into these detrimental habits and the myths that fuel the behavior.
The most common myth that fuels this behavior is that by not eating breakfast you are saving calories. Yes, at that exact moment in time you are saving calories but when looking at your whole day you will see this behavior is not helping you. Grabbing some water and heading out the door is not effective for fat loss. While water is very important for weight loss, we need to eat food.
Eating breakfast is literally breaking the fast from the night. We want to eat as early in the morning as possible. When you delay breakfast, you lengthen your fast. This increases the time you are not producing enzymes that are needed to metabolize fat for weight loss. This means you are limiting the hours in the day that your metabolism is running properly and bring fat efficiently. If you are not eating breakfast now, adding in breakfast will help you burn more fat during the day.
You need the energy, so this is acceptable right? This is yet another myth … just having coffee is not an acceptable breakfast for maximum fat loss. The energy you need comes from fueling your body. By eating breakfast you are replenishing the glycogen stores that supply your mind and body with immediate energy. Plus, people who habitually skip breakfast are reported to have decreased physical activity. This is counter productive since activity and exercise should be a part of your fat loss plan. To be clear, I am not saying you can not have coffee. What I am saying is that it is very beneficial to eat a breakfast that contains a complex carbohydrate and protein source with your coffee.
Myth, just grabbing a piece of fruit while zipping out of the door counts as a great breakfast. Unfortunately, eating healthy and eating healthy for fat loss are two different chapters in the same book. While you are eating breakfast by grabbing a banana and rushing out the door, you are missing out on protein. Starting your day with just a carb source spikes your insulin, which is a hormone for storing and not burning. Plus, by having sugar, it will give your body a rush of energy and release dopamine in the brain. This is a hormone that makes you feel good, and your body can easily get addicted to it. When the sugar ends, you will crave more which makes it more difficult to have the discipline to stick to your plan later in the day. Having protein will slow down the digestion and blunt the insulin response of your fruit at breakfast. We want to make sure our breakfast includes at least 20-25 grams of protein. That is roughly the amount it takes to activate muscle protein synthesis. What this means is that your body will have the amino acids it needs to repair itself, and essentially saving muscle tissue from being burned as fuel. This is calorically expensive, meaning it burns more calories, and if your body can’t burn your muscle, it will use your stored energy sources, fat.
A few common excuses for not eating breakfast are “I’m not hungry in the morning” or “If I eat breakfast, I am hungry for the rest of the day.” Both are true statements. You are not hungry in the morning because your metabolism is bottomed out. While you are sleeping your metabolism slows. As we learned a few paragraphs before this, we have to break this fast with food to get our metabolism going. A good sign your metabolism is up, is you will get hungry. This is completely healthy and when we fuel properly through out the day, you will burn more fat. Does this mean you have to eat 6 meals a day and carry all of your food with you? No it does not. What it does mean is that we need to eat a high quality breakfast that contains protein and follow it up with other high quality protein snacks and protein-based meals throughout the day.
Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Not fueling properly at breakfast will hinder your fat loss progress and delay reaching your goal. When thinking about what to eat for breakfast, keep it simple. We are not preparing a Sunday brunch with all the fix’ns. Simply shoot to have a quality protein source as part of a balanced breakfast. For example, a cup of low fat unflavored greek yogurt and blueberries. A scoop of Level 1, and oatmeal. Or a few scrambled egg whites on a whole grain english muffin. All three of those are fast, easy, and will set you up for success. By avoiding the 3 most detrimental breakfast habits you will increase your energy and burn more fat!
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
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