The Benefits Healthy Breakfast Has on Body

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Criteria for Healthy Breakfast
  3. Importance of Healthy Breakfast


Breakfast is mostly considered as an important meal of the day because it provides the basic energy which helps to perform all the activities ahead in the best possible way. Not having a healthy breakfast, or simply skipping a breakfast, may reduce the brain activity due to unavailability of required calories. Latest evidences suggest that we should take at least 15-25% of daily calorie-intake from the breakfast, that is 300-500 calories for women and 375-625 calories for men (Spencer, 2017 and Betts, 2014). Although these suggestions do not include the morning snacks which comprise an additional 100-200 calories. As a famous line of Nutritionist Adelle Davis from 1960’s indicates: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” (Sifferlin, 2013).

Geography, cultural variations and household food security are the considerable factors which have their impact on breakfast as well as healthy breakfast consumption. Evidence from the largescale surveys suggests that 36% of adolescents in North America skip the breakfast (Seiga-Riz, 1998). Some groups or communities pay more attention to other meals of the day like lunch and dinner as compared to breakfast due to any reasons which can vary from rituals to socio-economic status. People with low socio-economic status tend to have focus on just two meals a day and skip the third one which can be either any one of three, mostly the lunch is skipped. Nutritional content of the breakfast also depends upon the eating habits, rituals, and household food security. Growing body of scientific evidences now back the claim that breakfast is really an important meal of the day, but the real thing is to consider those factors that results in not eating something at start of the day which can leads to serious health consequences. ‘Cahill (2013)’ evidenced a 27% increase in coronary heart disease amongst those men of North America who, at start of the day, don’t eat a meal regularly. In contrast, eating a high-fat breakfast very often has recently been explained to increase the risk of atherosclerosis (McFarlin, 2016).

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The very first thing we consume in the morning provides fuel for the body as well as improves mental alertness. As a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health clarified that consuming a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee a day literally halved the suicide rate (Lucas, 2014). Timing, food content and overall caloric count of the first meal of the day is associated with mental health and sharpness of the students both at school and university level. Students and teachers with an empty stomach may show less interest in the lectures and other study work, while a well-fueled body is more likely to focus on creative works and memorizing. Various studies and their findings have shown that a healthy breakfast is positively associated with cognitive performance (Kleinman 2004, Hoyland A. 2009), weight management (Dubois 2009, Timlin 2007, Gleason 2009), feelings of well-being (Klenk J. 2008, Basche CE 2011, Chaplin K. 2011, Kral TV 2011), reduced risk of cardiovascular disease or dyslipidemia (Cahil LE 2013), and measures of glycemic control or type 2 diabetes mellitus (Mekary RA 2012, Yoo KB 2009).

University students especially faculty members are may aware of the importance of eating breakfast but may not put their knowledge into practice due to varying attitudes, perceptions, and constraints related to time management and food availability. This study is being conducted to check out the understandings of students and faculty members of KIU about the healthy breakfast, and general examination of their total intake of macronutrients as well as calories. This study is also focused on the overall dietary patterns of the subjects, as well as the ratios of their intake of milk, fruits, salad, fatty acids, junk foods, soft drinks, and fruit juices in the breakfast. Moreover, the physio-psychological changes are also tried to find out with ratios among the students and faculty members, like the prevalence of headache, tiredness, mood swings, feelings of unhappy, and low concentration in the class as a result of skipping the breakfast.

Criteria for Healthy Breakfast

Various guidelines about healthy breakfast are provided by different health agencies, but another matter is the lack of an exact definition for, simply, a breakfast. A proposed definition for breakfast by Carol E. (2014); “Breakfast is the first meal of the day that breaks the fast after the longest period of sleep and is consumed within 2 to 3 hours of waking; it is comprised of food or beverage from at least one food group and may be consumed at any location.” Many researchers have tried to identify criteria for a healthy breakfast. In Spain, based on guidelines for the Mediterranean diet, a breakfast quality index was proposed as a tool to measure either a breakfast for children and adolescents is healthy or not. Breakfast evaluation was based on the following criteria: consumption of cereals, fruit or vegetables, dairy products, or monounsaturated fatty acids; intake of simple sugars less than 5% of total daily energy; energy intake 20% to 25% of total daily energy; intake of 200 to 300 mg of calcium; monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids (SFA) ratio above the median for the population; consumption of cereals, dairy products, and fruits/vegetables together in one meal; and non-consumption of foods rich in SFA or trans-fatty acids (Monteagudo C. 2013, Carol E. 2014).

In another effort, Italian researchers proposed characteristics of a healthy breakfast, with acknowledgement that an ideal breakfast environment also exists in which a family eats together, palatable and appealing foods served, and parents serve as role models. The researchers also proposed nutritional characteristics of a healthy breakfast meal as a balanced daily intake of 20% to 35% of daily energy and inclusive of choices from three food groups, including dairy products (low-fat), cereals (whole-grain, unrefined), and fresh fruits or natural juices with no added sugar (Giovannini M. 2008). Another criterion for healthy breakfast proposed by Carol E. (2014) includes: Energy; 15% to 25% of recommended total calories, based on age, sex, and activity level, from a mix of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Nutrients; a minimum of 10% of Daily Value for as many nutrients as possible, with the goal of 20% or more for as many nutrients of concern as possible (Emphasis on provision of nutrients of concern—calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and fiber). Food components to reduce; saturated fatty acids and sodium. Food groups; aim for contributions from at least 3 food groups, such as fiber-rich grains, non-fat or low-fat dairy, fruits/vegetables, and lean proteins.

Importance of Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast contributes to nutritional well-being (Nicklas, Bao, Webber, & Berenson, 1993) and skipper have relatively worse intake of various vitamins and minerals (Hanes, Vermeersch, & Gale, 1984; Morgan, Zabik, & Stampey, 1986; Bidgood & Cameron, 1992; Nicklas et al., 1993) and their nutrient intake during the rest of the day tends not to compensate for skipping breakfast (Nicklas et al., 1993). In fact, skippers are more likely to eat high-fat snacks and to have higher cholesterol levels than breakfast consumers (Resnicow, 1991). It has also been evidenced that skipping breakfast has deleterious effects upon various aspects of cognitive functioning. Having breakfast is one of the 'seven healthy habits' recognized by Belloc and Breslow (1972) in the Alameda County Study. Breakfast skipping in teenagers has been associated with numerous health-compromising behaviors and unhealthy lifestyles, such as substance use, alcohol, tobacco, and risk-taking in general (Revicki et al, 1991; Isralowitz & Trostler, 1996; Hoglund et al, 1998).

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