Breakfast buzz ...
a new take on the breakfast debate

Bzzzzzz... that's how I feel about the whole 'eat breakfast' buzz business! I mean - would the bees and birds eat differently if they could read all the 'breakfast research' we get? Would they wonder about when to eat breakfast?

Ok, so maybe I just love swimming against the tide – because along with almost every thing I seem to write, it gets me into all sorts of hot water with the 'experts'. 

Call me skeptical but it seems to me that all the breakfast buzz may have less to do with our bodily-needs than to do with the clock, custom and breakfast ‘research’ funded by groups with a vested interest in our breakfasting habits, selling us a bunch of advertising lies aimed at boosting their coffers. It's like a lot of the baloney weight loss advice we get. 

Breakfast buzz and our biological clock

Our body clock has three eight-hour phases in every 24-hour cycle From an energy-intake point of view, each 8-hour period happen at a particular time, each performs a different function (often preparing the body for the next cycle) and each therefore needs something different. 

• The Elimination phase gets rid of toxins and needs water. 

• The Appropriation phase takes in nutrients and needs food.

• The Assimilation phase utilizes those nutrients for cell maintenance and growth.

From about 4am to Noon – our body is in its elimination phase and needs water to help flush out toxins. That’s why we often wake up ‘dying for the cup of coffee’ – our biological clock is more thirsty than hungry in the mornings.

Breakfast buzz - myth #1

We get told: “You need breakfast to kick-start your metabolism”.

I discount this breakfast metabolism myth about the kick-start theory because it implies our metabolism has stopped. This is untrue. Your ‘basal rate’ of metabolism (the energy needed for basic bodily functions such as respiration, digestion and growth) never stops: it continues 24/7 otherwise you'd be dead.

I suspect that the ‘kick-start’ breakfast metabolism myth originates from the fact that our basal metabolism certainly does slow down when we are inactive for long periods of time (such as when we are sleeping).

And yes, it is true that our metabolism does increase whenever we eat because the body creates heat in order to process the calories we have just eaten. 

It’s called thermogenesis (thermo = heat and genesis = creation). But frankly, drinking a glass of cold water has the same effect and even mild dehydration can slow our metabolism by as much as 3%. (By the way it’s estimated that about 75% of American are apparently dehydrated). 

However while eating or drinking cold water temporarily raise our metabolism, they do nothing to permanently enhance our basal metabolism which is how we would get to utilize more calories in the course of basic bodily functions. 

It is consistent amounts of exercise which increases your muscle mass, raising your basal metabolism naturally because… the more muscle you have the more energy your body uses to stay alive.

Breakfast buzz - myth #2

We get told: “You won’t be able to concentrate if you don’t eat first thing in the morning.” 

Really? Plenty of people who trust their remarkable bodies don’t eat until they get hungry in the mornings tell me their concentration isn’t impaired at all. 

Now, in line with our body being in an elimination cycle in the early mornings, research on water intake has reported that we only need a 2% drop in body water to trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page. 

But research done on the importance of breakfast doesn’t ask questions about how much people have had to drink. You see, it doesn’t fit in with the hypothesis that needs to be supported by the companies that fund breakfast research. It would not be in their best interests to find that a lack of water and not their breakfast food was what we needed!

PS....Don't take my word for it check it out yourself....but it's interesting that when I google "breakfast research institute"  I come up with a site sponsored by 'General Mills' and another by 'Quaker & Tropicana' 

.  The latter is really convincing it says: 

  • Comprehensive and balanced information on scientific research on the practice and benefits of breakfast
  • Evidence-based breakfast research news.

Having been the consulting psychologist to SANEP (the now-defunct South African Nutrition Experts Panel) which was sponsored by a cereal company the 'research' put out to the media was why I opted out.

Maybe in line with our body’s morning elimination cycle needing water, we need to drink water and do some exercise (and um yes dare I mention that morning sex counts!) rather than eat in order to concentrate. 

And remember that water is H20 – meaning it also provides molecules of oxygen. Deep breathing and oxygen increase mental agility and many Japanese companies only employ staff on condition that they exercise three times a week because they believe that it is physical activity that improves mental performance. 

And no, for the most part we don't need bottled water either, ordinary old tap water is usually just as good without polluting the world with more plastic bottles, but of course that won't be popular with bottled water companies either.

Breakfast buzz - myth #3

We get told:  “You won’t have energy if you don’t eat breakfast.” 

I dispute this – I’m bursting with energy in the mornings without having consumed anything except a water with lemon, coffee or tea. 

Again, studies show that a lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue as is eating a diet that is excessive in refined carbohydrates (as are many breakfast cereals by the way) and doing no physical activity.

I can also vouch for the fact that on the days when I don’t get to do exercise I have less energy than on the days when I do and eating low quality carbohydrates is enough to make me really sleepy.

Breakfast Buzz - Myth #4

We get told:  “You’ll be starving if you don’t eat before you go to work/school.” 

How do you naturally eat on weekends or vacations? My 'rule' is that I only eat when my body tells me it's hungry.

Having now worked with thousands of clients – I can tell you that majority of people I’ve worked with, once they are in tune with their bodies, tell me they only get hungry between 10-11am. (The only time I find this to be untrue is when I’ve eaten a heavy meal late at night – then I wake up ravenous....feels to me like I've upset my body clock) 

Interestingly enough only getting hungry later in the morning fits in with my body clock – which, as it approaches noon, gets ready to move into its Appropriation cycle.

Breakfast buzz - myth #5

We get told:

“People who don’t eat breakfast struggle to maintain their weight”. Here’s what I’ve noticed … if I eat before my body physically asks for food, I still get hungry at about the same- between 10-11am (and I’m not alone in this), so I land up eating twice instead of once. 

And naturally, if I don’t eat when I get hungry – then by the afternoon I'm so preoccupied with food hat my eating is out of control. I grab the first food in sight (often nothing nutritious) and guzzle it down. 

So those people who don’t eat breakfast before going to work are often at risk for then not eating until lunch by which time they are way too hungry – eat too fast, and eat too much because their hunger is out of control – no wonder they gain weight.

To my way of thinking your body knows best.  If your body is actually thirsty and not hungry, it simply isn’t time to eat. Problem is that many of us (40% of participants in one study) can’t tell the difference between thirst and hunger. When you are body-wise, you'll reach your perfect size - period!

My final say on all this breakfast buzz

I’m not saying don’t eat breakfast – all I’m saying about all the breakfast buzz is: 
honor your body's wisdom and don’t eat breakfast until you’re physically hungry or until your body tells you it needs food. Do you feel dizzy, have a headache etc.. if you don't eat breakfast?  Well that's your body sending you messages that need to be honored.  
• and as long as you’re eating quality fuel each and every time you’re hungry, you’ll see your eating patterns will fall into their own pattern that may look a bit different to that required by our culture and custom.  

And the other thing I'm saying is: check these theories for yourself:  

• how much energy do you or don't you have depending on when you eat?  
• how is your concentration before you eat?  
• what happens when you drink water when you're not hungry and eat when you are?
• what happens to your weight when you eat according to your body's hunger instead of custom and con

Don't accept everything you read just because some or other 'researcher' says it so. Especially when they have a vested interest in having you eat when your body isn't actually asking for food. 

If you loved this information you'll love The Mind over Fatter Program because it gives you a step-by-step practical roadmap to help you honour your body at every step of the way.

For more breakfast ideas from around the globe don't miss this.  But, before you go there.... please stop for a few seconds and let us know...

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What Other Visitors Have to say about Breakfast

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

I am never really hungry.... 
I agree with listening to your body as for me if I am not hungry if I try to eat or sometimes tell myself I should eat breakfast I get nauseated. So …

Everyone thinks I'm stubborn, misinformed and unduly suspicious 
I've always argued-- not against breakfast--but against believing in correlation as causation when it comes to eating breakfast.. I think that the food …

I would gag while eating breakfast 
THANK YOU for this article. I would literally gag while I ate breakfast because I bought into the myth that you HAD to eat breakfast- no other option. …

I eat intuitively. No "breakfast for the past 35 years", and I look and feel good. 
As soon as I was independent from my parents who LITERALLY forced breakfast down my throat I never really felt the urge to eat before 11 or 12 noon every …

Agree and Disagree 
I agree with you regarding not eating as soon as you get up. What works best for me is to eat when I am hungry, usually around 11:00 am. However, I …

Children eating breakfast 
I've never been a breakfast person and neither have my children and I've waged war on them forever to get them to eat breakfast for all the things you …

I never eat Breakfast. . . . I'm not hungry in the morning! 
I constantly argue with my parents, friends, and coworkers on this issue. I never eat breakfast, I'm just not hungry in the morning. Even when I'm …

Isn't a cup of coffee breakfast? Not rated yet
If it's all about "kick starting" metabolism, wouldn't a milky cup of coffee or tea fulfill this function? Caffeine does stimulate our brain and body.. …

I disagree about the coffee Not rated yet
It is mainly because you are dependant on the caffeine that you wake up craving coffee. Someone who doesnt drink coffee doesnt wake up caving a drink unless …

Don't get hungry until 2 hours after waking up! Not rated yet
Have always been this way, even as a healthy teenager. I love the theory of "trusting the body's cues " and have come to that belief on my own many …

Gagging from breakfast Not rated yet
I started working in the city and leaving my house around 7am for the bus, which means I had to eat breakfast around 6:30 (!) Thanks for the insight! No …

When I never ate breakfast I was thin. Not rated yet
All through my teens and early 20s, I never ate breakfast because I never felt hungry in the morning. Not only was I not hungry. Eating breakfast actually …

If I eat breakfast I'm Sluggish Not rated yet
This is so refreshing to see! I have never liked breakfast, but the mantra "most important meal of the day etc" is so rarely questioned that many people …

Thank you for this breakfast advice article Not rated yet
I've been trying to lose the same 10 pounds for years, and about 2 weeks ago I accidentally missed breakfast for two days in a row. It dawned on me that, …

I lost 25 pounds 7 years ago, and have kept it off Not rated yet
I don't have breakfast OR lunch (although sometimes around noon, I'll have a little something to tide me over, but not a full-scale meal). And it's …

Breakfast make me sluggish Not rated yet
Very Good! I have never liked breakfast, I actually feel bloated and sluggish much of the day if I do eat it. I go running 5-6 days a week (usually …

Even hungrier at lunch if I force breakfast Not rated yet
Thank God. One other person who gets it. I'm tired of people constantly parroting the "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" crap. …

Pancakes and cold pizza Not rated yet
Hi, I just finished Cari's class and the only thing I told her (besides how great it was) was that she should talk about this in her first class and …

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