If I had a penny for every time I told a patient to eat breakfast, I had have a whole lotta pennies! I’m an honorary member of the breakfast police. I believe that everyone should eat breakfast every, single day. And I believe it’s the key to a day of steady, ample energy. If you’re suffering from an afternoon energy slump, and you’re not eating breakfast, chances is are this is your fix. (Sugar and coffee in the morning are other causes of afternoon energy crashes.)
Now, new research is showing that a protein-rich breakfast boosts the brain chemistry to help us avoid cravings, especially for sugar and sweets. “‘Our research showed that people experience a dramatic decline in cravings for sweet foods when they eat breakfast,’ said Heather Leidy, Ph.D., an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri… On the other hand, if breakfast is skipped, these cravings continue to rise throughout the day.'”
The main chemical these researcher studied was dopamine, a neurochemical associated with pleasure and receiving rewards, which is probably why cravings are reduced. Dopamine also influences the behaviors associated with achieving goals. Since our brains see big goals as actually a series of mini-goals, it experiences reward (release of dopamine) steadily as we cross off all the components of our goal from our to-do lists. Researchers have also linked low dopamine to procrastination, self doubt and low enthusiasm. Dopamine increases our energy in addition to improving motivation, which makes it doubly important to eat breakfast.
The Breakfast Plan
Healthy fats (pastured butter and avocados, are two examples)
No sugar, no coffee
A very small amount of complex carbs, but only occasionally
(Try breakfast for dinner and have your oatmeal in the evening!)