02 Aug The Importance of a Good Breakfast
As the name suggests, breakfast implies ‘breaking the fast’, and that is the overnight fast, the last meal being the dinner of the previous night. In effect, it actually means the first eating occasion of the day within 2-3 hours of waking. i.e by about 9.00 -10.00 a.m.
But in the present day the concept of breakfast has transformed considerably. A decade or two ago, a typical breakfast comprised a serving or two of any cereal, milk or milk product, egg or cheese and perhaps a fruit which was calorie and protein dense. Today the trend has shifted to a calorie and carbohydrate dense breakfast with not so high proteins. This too has been accompanied by a reduction in the actual number of, who do have breakfast. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of losing out on the benefits of a healthy breakfast. According to a recent study in the U.S., approximately 32% of adolescents skip breakfast on a daily basis and up to 60% skip almost 3 times a week. Similar observations have been made in our country too, thanks to the pressure of a power packed schedule which puts diet in the background. The commonly attributed factors for this trend are lack of time by 50% of the respondents and lack of appetite by almost 60% of them. Other causes sited were, inconvenience, forgetting to eat and not of the desired taste.
It cannot be over emphasized that a good breakfast is the key to a healthy day’s start. A number of studies have shown that children who have had a healthy breakfast do significantly better in their scholastic performance and have a higher retention capacity as compared to those who have not had breakfast. Recent evidence also suggests those people having a healthy breakfast (protein rich) rather than carbohydrate dense, are able to maintain normal body weight, since it leads to improvement in appetite control and satiety and reduced food intake over the subsequent meals. The rapid progression of incidence of Type 2 diabetes and obesity in the younger age groups can be considered as consequences of an unhealthy or no breakfast, as has been evident by a series of studies in this aspect. Therefore, it is highly recommended that children and adolescents and also adults should begin the day with a good, healthy breakfast, since besides giving an energetic kick start for the day, it is now also considered to be the key factor in preventing obesity and diabetes especially in the younger age group