Done right, you’ll gain time and lose your muffin-top. But the butter knife cuts both ways, and new research serves up a smorgasbord of reasons to dig in at dawn.
01 HIIT It Early
Muscle glycogen levels are at their lowest when you wake, due to overnight fasting. Bang out an early AM session and recent evidence shows you’ll better tap into your fat reserves. But if weight loss isn’t a priority, skipping breakfast could be bad news. A Loughborough University study found that men who missed a morning meal didn’t perform as well in evening workouts.
02 Kick the Habit
Adults who neglect breakfast are more likely to smoke, drink heavily and work out less, concludes a study by the University of Helsinki. However, the link between breakfast and a lean body may be purely behavioural. People who do partake tend to have a more balanced diet overall, says dietitian Emer Delaney. Start off with something light and you’ll soon see the benefits.
03 Not So Sweet
Research in the Journal of Nutritional Science found overweight men who skipped breakfast lost fat but had higher cholesterol compared with those eating frosted flakes. However, new studies suggest sugar has a worse effect on heart disease than cholesterol – meaning flakes could be worse than flaking.
04 Protein First
The idea that simply eating breakfast alone will give your metabolism a boost is bunkum: you won’t get shredded with toast. It’s the quality of the kilojoules that really counts, says PT David Kingsbury. Opt for 35 grams of protein from fare such as eggs, oats or natural yoghurt, which the University of Missouri found can limit fat storage.
05 Eat at Eight
Eggs almost done? Tuck in at 8am. That’s when the stress hormone cortisol peaks, and a well-balanced breakfast can lower it, says Kingsbury. According to a University of Missouri study, habitual breakfast skippers also have lower stocks of the “reward” chemical dopamine, making them more likely to binge on sugary foods. Pass the salt, would you?