It is Monday morning and you are sitting in your most boring and tedious class of the semester. You are tired as a dog and all you can think of is your warm cozy bed and your lavender silk sheets you have left behind to come to school. You are so tired that you must try every technique possible not to fall asleep. But your nostrils start to flare and your mouth starts to tremble. You yawn. And by the end of the class, you know you have not learned a thing.
Are you familiar with this scenario? Most students report that they are. According to a recent study conducted by King’s College London, such exhaustion and decline in attention and performance can be caused either by not eating the right breakfast or by skipping it completely.
The research also highlighted that cutting out breakfast could not only affect your academic performance, but also your visual perception and spatial memory.
Catherine Naulleau, a sports nutritionist from VIVAÃ Nutrition, agreed with the research and said that breakfast should be eaten on a regular basis.
“Breakfast starts you off,” said Naulleau. “It helps to speed up the metabolism and gives the first energy to the body, brain and cells. Those who don’t eat breakfast will be more tired and have less energy. The brain simply misses glucose to function well and wants to shut off.”
While the King’s College study focused mainly on cereals as the right type of breakfast, Naulleau said there are plenty of other options. Ideally, the meal must be healthy and nutritious, must always contain a source of carbohydrates and proteins, and have at least three food groups found in Health Canada’s Food Guide.
“Whole grain toast with peanut butter and a glass of milk or yogurt or orange juice is a great choice,” said Naulleau. “Cheese or eggs, as long as it does not have too much butter or fat added are another great source of proteins. You want protein and fiber for breakfast because it will energize your brain and will help you last longer through the morning, so you don’t feel too hungry to get to lunch. Oatmeal is another great choice because the kind of carbs oatmeal has take more time to digest and therefore you have more energy.”
Despite all the benefits breakfast can provide, many students still pay little or no attention to it. Others include their lack of time and effort as one of the main reasons for skipping breakfast.
“I’m very busy and lazy in the morning, so I don’t eat. But if I feel somewhat hungry then I’ll just grab a muffin because it’s quick to finish,” said Chris Rodi, a Concordia student majoring in English and history.
But if you are among those who make breakfast part of your daily routine, then you should make sure you are eating it at the right time in order to get all the benefits. According to Naulleau, your first meal should be before 10 a.m., as it will keep your metabolism regulated. Even the night owls who wake up after ten should have at least a small portion and then adjust the timing of all other meals. Â Â
If boosting your concentration is not enough of a reason for you to start breakfasting, here is something that might perhaps change your mind: eating breakfast will help you maintain your weight and shed some unwanted pounds.
“Breakfast is the most important meal for dieters,” said Naulleau. “Skipping it creates a large energy deficit and your body will compensate later on in the evening, in front of the TV either with chocolate or chips. It will also create sugar cravings in the morning and the envy to eat less nutritious food. People who don’t eat breakfast, [find that] their metabolism will tend to shut down and slow down, and with a slower metabolism you put on pounds more easily. A breakfast with carbs and proteins, on the other hand, helps dieters feel full longer and less tempted to eat sugary and fatty food choices later in the day.”
So eat a healthy, low in sugar breakfast and you will not only improve your brainpower, but you might also lose those dangling love handles. Can you think of any better deal?