Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast – that’s why the name – breaking fast. But what if you had your last meal in the middle of the night and it was loaded with calories? Would you still be up for a morning munch? A lot has been said about breakfast being the king of meals and how it shouldn’t be skipped at any cost. But you can’t look at health and nutrition with blinders on anymore.
In India, as a practice, people would eat an early dinner (before 8 pm) and then eat the next meal the following morning only after finishing the household chores, showering and praying, thereby delaying the whole breakfast routine. Early breakfast hasn’t really been our thing. So why now? Here’s what experts have to say about the ‘kingsize meal’…
Fast or break-fast? Eating breakfast and skipping breakfast are both effective. Fasting works well for some, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work best for many others. Breakfast is important, but not more so than lunch, dinner, and everything else you eat daily. At the end of the day, the most important thing is calorie consumption. The trick is finding what’s right for you. That’s where the magic happens, no matter when you eat breakfast.
Mind the gap: The morning meal is no more a meal consumed within an hour of waking up. It is, in fact, the meal eaten after a conscious gap of 16 hours, thanks to the upswing of Intermittent Fasting. Like breakfast, intermittent fasting is thought to have a number of benefits, from cellular repair to weight loss. It helps change hormone levels, cell function and gene expression. Staying on a fast in the morning after eating early in the evening can reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%. This can protect against type 2 diabetes and successfully reduce the markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases.
Don’t make it a chore: The importance of breakfast varies from person to person. What’s your appetite as a person? How healthy or light does your dinner look? How much do you exercise? The best way to eat is intuitively. Grab a healthy morning meal when your body asks for it. Else, just nibble on a few nuts or a fruit. But if you’re always starving and making unhealthy choices at lunch, you might want to rethink your breakfast habits – either making it bigger, better, or simply existent.
Keep it wholesome: The first bite of the morning resets your circadian clock. It is hence not a bad idea to eat soon after waking up. Both the time and quality of food consumed in the first meal after getting up influences your metabolic pathways. The first meal should be a good combination of vegetables, fats, some complex carbs, protein and vitamins and minerals. Think millets, nuts and healthy fats!