The breakfast is always considered an important meal to start the day properly. But then why if we are constantly bombarded by nutritional advice, which reminds us how important it is, most Italians continue to skip it and / or limit themselves to eating cap and brioche? Why children’s breakfast made from cereals, biscuits and rusks is full of sugars, hidden fats and low in nutrients?
In this guide, we will not only give advice on how to do it, but we will try to understand how our physiology is structured and how our body behaves after waking up. the day with more awareness.
Breakfast and circadian rhythms
We have already spoken several times about circadian cycles , summarizing these cycles are a biological clock within our body that regulates hormone production. The basic error when it comes to the circadian rhythms is that it is not taken into account that they adapt to our habits and not vice versa. Depending on whether we get used to waking up at 6.00 am to 8.00 am or 11.00 am the hormonal peaks will follow our habits. In the case of breakfast, after morning awakening, the body must recover from nocturnal fasting, which is why hyperglycemic hormones, such as cortisol and glucagon, are activated. We need energy to resume activity of the day and hormones support blood sugar after fasting.
The increase in hyperglycaemic hormones (including adrenaline and norepinephrine) in many people has an anorectic effect , or takes away hunger, which is why many people find it difficult to eat as soon as they wake up. Appetite will come in the day, but in the hour after waking up they have no incentive to eat.
On the fact that cortisol has a peak in the hours close to awakening, various theories have developed. Since cortisol is a hormone antagonist to insulin , if it constantly increases the affinity of cellular receptors to glucose, leading to insulin resistance , some claim that eating sugars in the first part of the day is like throwing gasoline on the fire, better a savory breakfast .
We will see continuing in the guide that all these speculations are mainly mental saws and that in practice, the factors that make the difference are others. For now let’s just understand that it is very subjective to feel the need to have a big breakfast , some will not be able to do without it, for others it will be an effort. It is individual and we will see that it is better for everyone to follow his individuality.
Breakfast lunch and dinner.
The fact of making 3 main meals during the day, plus any snacks, is a convention that has given itself modern civilization. In nature, meals take place when food is found, when it is reunited with offspring and when there are no predators nearby. In short, there is no biological law that says that it is better the order of meals that we are given, on an organic level does not change anything. The man machine is influenced by factors that repeat over time, in the 24h and in the weeks. Making 3, 6, 2 meals has no influence on calories , on body composition (see the article on the frequency of meals ). The saying: a king’s breakfast, a prince’s lunch, a poor dinner, works because people tend to abound and take more calories at dinner (and also on the sofa while watching the evening movie), if dinner is limited, the person takes less calories .
The advice not to skip breakfast refers to epidemiological studies where people who make a healthy breakfast are leaner and healthier. However this statistical result is misleading. The sportsman makes breakfast, eats healthy food and trains, the sedentary jumps, eats the cap and the brioche at the bar and exceeds with the energy intake during the day. With the same physical activity and macronutrients, there is no difference between making and skipping breakfast .
Even in this case, those who are good at making it continue like this, those who skip just pay attention not to have hunger attacks and to fall back, around 11.00 am, on the croissant at the bar . The practice of intermittent fasting has shown that we can also do sport by jumping breakfast, if we are healthy we do not go into hypoglycemia and often it is easier to lose weight, if the moment we are less hungry we do not force ourselves to eat.
Healthy breakfast first and foremost
At this point we should have understood that what matters is not breakfast but what we eat in 24h. This is the only factor that matters, we should focus on the macronutrients and micronutrients that we will take and depending on your individual preferences decide what to eat during breakfast.
For those who decide to do it, perhaps to avoid hunger attacks during mid-morning or at lunch, the ideal is to avoid foods full of quickly digestible sugars . These foods will bring a sense of satiety to last short, rather it is better to have a protein and moderately fatty breakfast, which requires longer digestion times. Rusks with jam can repay the taste, but as a sense of satiety may not be the best choice.
What to eat for breakfast
We come to the point therefore examining the nutritional values of the foods that are usually eaten and what we should eat for breakfast . This will allow us to have an objective view on the food, then each will draw its conclusions.
|Kellogg’s Special K||379||74||13||8.5||2||18|
|Crispy light vitalis||437||57||14||13||15||11|
|Vitalis muesleicrunchy chocolate||477||60||25||6.6||21||9.5|
As we can see the breakfast cereals are very caloric foods, rich in carbohydrates (and for some even sugars and fats), with a good amount of fiber which should suffice, for those who sell them, to make them “healthy”. Oats probably remain the best cereal for the morning, also thanks to its particular soluble food fibers (betaglucans). The weetabix despite having many carbohydrates possess few sugars and lipids .
Ultimately when we eat breakfast cereals, as it is written light or fitness, we are eating a lot of calories that probably respond more to the taste that line.
Rusks and jam for breakfast
|Le Dorate Mulino Bianco||391||72||6.8||6.2||5||11.5|
|The Mulino Bianco Wholemeal||384||63||6||12||6||13.5|
|Sweet and Without Size||391||73||5.8||4.7||4.2||13|
|Marmalade||220-260||50-70||46-64||0.4 to 1.8||0||0.3-0.4|
|Jam without sugar||68-180||19-42||19:42||1.2-2.4||0||0.6-0.9|
Even wholemeal rusks , are a very caloric food, with a significant amount of fat and sugar (remember that the distinction between whole grain and refined is not as relevant as is believed, for weight loss). Also in this case we are faced with a food that we can very well eat but always in moderation, not thinking that the full text, allows us to abound and eat more.
The jams , contrary to what one might think, are less caloric of rusks. They are made up almost entirely of simple sugars and depending on how much sugar or pectin is added, the caloric content varies significantly.
Biscuits for breakfast
|Pan di stelle||483||65||23.5||4||20.5||7.5|
The biscuits for breakfast are average real calorie bombs. Unless you eat 1-3 and stop it, it is easy to overrun with calories, sugars and often with fats, since the lipid content is almost always very relevant.
Of the foods seen so far, all risked to exceed the nutritional values, but the biscuits are probably both the most tasty food but also the one to pay more attention to.
Baked goods for breakfast
|Whole grain bread||224||48||0||7.3||7.5||3.5|
In baked goods we find the classic morning brioche (very bad), but also whole wheat bread or apple pie (much better). Also in this case we find foods that are poor in protein, with a caloric content that risks being excessive if we do not contain it.
Yogurt for breakfast
|Fruit yogurt||109-134||13.8 to 19.4||13.8 to 19.4||3.2||4.1|
|Greek yogurt 0%||57||4||4||7-11||0|
The yogurts are of little calorically dense foods, but often the lean version of sugar are added to make it more palatable. The fruit yogurts are full of added sugar (in the jar there is more sugar than yogurt). The version of Greek yogurt is much more protein (depending on the brand it ranges from 7g to 11g / 100g). Yogurt without added sugar remains a good solution for a healthy breakfast in which we have a moderate intake of calories.
Milk and butter for breakfast
The milk depending on its version changes its fat content. The lipids of dairy products have a medium composition (neither excellent nor bad), to know more about this article on the properties of butter . However, it remains a low-calorie food that if taken in moderation also has positive effects for our microbiota (if you want to know if the milk is bad , read our article). Milk can be a sensible choice for breakfast because of its moisturizing power and balanced macronutrient intake, for intolerant people it is enough to buy the highly digestible one.
As for butter, on the other hand, it is a high-calorie food, which can give taste and energy (it is easy to digest), but that must be used sparingly for its high fat and calorie content.
Fruits for breakfast
The fruit remains an excellent food to be consumed at breakfast, being not very dense energetically and with a soluble fiber content, it allows you to feel satiated easily enough. Among the fruit we find the most caloric one like the banana and the less like the peach or the plums.
Eggs for breakfast
The eggs are an excellent food choice, especially at breakfast. Their cholesterol content does not make them suitable for those suffering from familial hypercholesterolemia and is not able to regulate its own internal production, in relation to the cholesterol that it introduces with the diet. For other cases they are a healthy and healthy choice, even every day.
What to eat for breakfast: conclusions
As we have seen, most of the foods that the Italians usually eat for breakfast are sugary, but often also have a high content of hidden fats. On average they are very caloric foods that must be taken in moderation. For this reason, the taste of the dessert is preferred, choosing to eat little, or those less energetic foods like yogurt, fruit and eggs are favored.
Probably, given the nutritional values, the less cookies eaten, the less baked products (shoddy) choose and the more will benefit the health and waistline.
In recent years, protein breakfast has also been proposed in Italy . While it is a good habit not to eat bacon in the morning (but not in the rest of the meals), given its nutritional values, on the other a breakfast that includes:
- Low-fat or Greek yogurt + fresh fruit
- Dried fruits
- Protein pancakes
- Protein powder (for sportsmen)
- Smoked salmon
- Toast (healthy)
can make good protein intake since the morning, thus helping to improve the sense of satiety , glycemic control and especially leading to a better calorie partitioning of nutrients to the muscles and not the fat cells.
So if we go to analyze the typical Italian breakfast, we note that carbohydrates, sugars and fats are not lacking, what is missing are the proteins.
Concluding what we can say:
- Breakfast is not necessary, if we choose to do it, we should focus on quality, if we skip it, make sure not to binge later and still have the right energy (if you’re not healthy is another matter and should do it).
- What matters is what is assumed in the 24h, not in the various meals of the day, however, a protein content even in the morning helps delay the sense of hunger and improves our body composition (of course count the daily macronutrients not at breakfast).
- Choose the strategy that best suits you, there is nothing that is clearly better or worse, there is only eat the right amount and the right quality throughout the day.
Good breakfast 🙂
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