Breakfast for Learning
Many North Americans may trivialise the idea that a whole month has been dedicated to eating breakfast - September is "Breakfast for Learning Month" - this of course bespeaks of our caloric comfort. Indeed, most of us are not deprived of calories, indeed, most of us either consume too many calories or we consume calories from the wrong ratio of foods. That having been said, I do think that dedicating a whole month to breakfast and its impact on learning is important. Indeed, breakfast may be the single most important meal of the day for both children and adults. Here's why:
- We don't eat while we sleep, we fast. That's why the first meal of the day is called "break fast" or breakfast. Skiping breakfast forces the body to adapt by increasing stress hormones in order to maintain blood sugar level. Indeed, if your last consumption of food was at 9 pm and you skip breakfast, only eating at 11 am, you've deprived your body of food for 14 hours (more than half a day) yet you are still asking it to function effectively. Your stress glands, the adrenals, have to kick in to help to maintain blood sugar level. Of course, this can significantly increase stress response and "reactivity". If a child (or adult) misses breakfast their bodies will necessarily be in "stress mode" until lunch. Not the best way to ensure proper attention in class. Indeed, many cases of attention deficit / hyperactivity have been cured by ensuring that children receive a healthy breakfast.
- If you don't eat in a relatively short period of time after rising your body thinks that food is just not available. It will therefore modify its metabolism in order to burn less calories. By depriving yourself of breakfast you actually help your body conserve calories - and fat - more effectively.
- Finally, research shows that people who skip breakfast are unlikely to make up their daily requirement for some vitamins, minerals and amino acids that a breakfast would have provided.
Of course, the quality of the breakfast is almost as important as whether we eat breakfast or not. Breakfast should be high in protein and low in sugar - almost exactly the opposite of the average North-American breakfast. And please, avoid the sugar laden breakfast cereals or pastries and the sugar dense drinks often associated with breakfast. If you are interested in learning more about natural health, do a search on our website.