Skipping Breakfast can make you Fat

Many adolescents (high school and college going children) and young people who have just started working, skip breakfast. The excuse is that, we donít have time to eat in the morning as we are rushing out. Besides this many also think that if they eat one meal less, it may help them to lose some weight.

Unfortunately this is not so and recently research done in Londonís Imperial College showed that the volunteers who missed breakfast craved for fatty and sugary foods throughout the day. It is also proved that those who skip breakfast tend to eat up to 250 or more calories extra in their lunch and dinner.

We have observed that some people manage not to overeat lunch even though they have skipped breakfast. However they definitely start snacking on deep fried snacks by 5 or 6pm. Samosas, chaat items or chips/mixture or puffs or a pastry. Some eat idlis and vada or masala dosa, etc., in the evening.

Finally those who control in the lunch and evening time are most likely to over eat a lot at dinner and also crave to eat a dessert after their meal. All this will get stored as fat as they go to sleep thereafter. Eating larger quantity of food in the later meals of the day and choosing more sugary and fatty foods will clearly lead to more fat deposition in the body which will result in seriously damaging the total body composition. The fat percentage of the body will start increasing and the muscle mass will proportionately go down. This results in lowering our metabolism and making us become more over weight and obese.

We are in a condition of fasting from dinner time till we wake up in the morning. The ideal thing to do is to have our breakfast within one hour of waking up and getting out of bed. This would mean ideally between 7-8.30am at the latest. The reason is that the hormones controlling our blood sugar namely insulin is better stimulated and works most effectively when we eat an early breakfast.

A good breakfast should contain a combination of carbohydrate foods along with the protein foods. Oats porridge or ragi porridge with a glass of milk or buttermilk. Idli/dosa plus sambar and a glass of milk. Stuffed roties with a cup of curds or dhal. Whole wheat bread with an egg or vegetables slices and a glass of milk, ragi roti plus a bowl of curd or glass of milk. Pongal (rice plus dhal) or roti and egg burgi, etc.

Research done at London and New Delhi showed that skipping breakfast could lead to various hormonal imbalances which could later lead to diabetes and thyroid problems. Studies also show that people who missed breakfast can never really make up the nutritional deficiency through eating more in the other meals. In our work here, we have seen that most of our clients and patients who have been in the habit of skipping breakfast suffer from anaemia i.e. iron deficiency, where the blood haemoglobin count (Hb) is low.

Finally we see that those who skip breakfast tend to be more physically lethargic and slow and mentally and emotionally less able to cope with difficult situations in their life. I would say that skipping breakfast and rushing out into a busy day is similar to trying to start your car and run it with no petrol in the petrol tank. It is simply foolish, so as we start this New Year let our resolution be to Start Smart and begin our day with a Healthy, Hearty breakfast every day!

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