Time Is As Man-Made As Your Breakfast Bars

Time is quite an elaborate system that measures the sequence of events, compares the durations of and intervals between these events, and helps determine the motion of things, beings and/or concepts.

But time was created. We gave it existence, meaning, substance and importance. If it weren’t for the hours in a day, the days in a month and the months in a year, life would just merely exist with periods of lightness, darkness, cold and warmth. “Later” would be used instead of tomorrow. “Before” would be used instead of yesterday. Sometimes I think things would be a lot simpler with ten times less comparison. Needless to say, time has complicated many things, including nutrition. When to eat, how often, in what ratios at what times, pre-workout, post-workout, before bed, in between lunch and dinner, and the ever so important upon awakening….. aka….. breakfast.

For as long as I can remember, it’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There have been a countless number of reasons supporting the idea that breakfast starts your day off on the right foot. Well what about lefties?

We’ve all heard breakfast implies “breaking the fast.” Without it, we’ve been led to believe that we are doing our bodies more harm than good. But is it okay to “skip” this particular meal? Does breakfast absolutely have to be eaten within an hour of you waking up in the morning? Has anyone ever even experimented with this idea with enough of an open mind?

I’m in no way trying to be a Debbie Downer. I’m just trying to provide some insight and play a little Devil’s Advocate. Why? There’s two reasons. First, research is just that- research. When studying people, real people are used. Someone thinks about something and either tries to prove or disprove it. But the people they use aren’t from a bank of perfection wiped with a clean slate at life. Just because certain outcomes may or may not favor certain hypothesis’ doesn’t mean that much is known about the whole person being used. How do they live? What do they eat? What do they do for a living? Are they in debt? Are they married? What’s their stress level? What is their exercise history? Who were their parents? These things have an impact on how well they respond to the research. Yes, we need research, but it isn’t an end-all-be-all  truth to every story or situation. And you can always find information to prove or disprove anything. That’s called freedom of speech and expression. Secondly, it all boils down to what I always say- people are way smarter than they give themselves credit for. People are always looking for answers from everyone else, and often times their own instincts and necessary efforts are neglected and avoided in favor of following someone else. “Breaking the fast” seems right. It seems 100% logical. But we all know that not everything that seems logical is logical and vice versa.

Before I get down to the nitty gritty, those with a specific diagnosis, particularly diabetes, may need breakfast for a number of medical reasons.

 Contrary to what many people believe, breakfast does not “jumpstart your metabolism.” Our metabolism does not have an “on and off” button. Our metabolism doesn’t suddenly slow itself down because we haven’t eaten breakfast or any one meal for that matter (assuming you eat enough and according to your needs). Strength isn’t sacrificed, and glycogen stores don’t become further depleted if we merely skip this one meal. It takes a lot more for that to happen, especially if you’re eating enough throughout the day. If our metabolism had this “slowing effect” when not supplied food, it would seem logical that when exercising, our metabolisms slowed also because we don’t all eat in the middle of a workout. We’re causing damage to our muscles, especially during weight training, yet our metabolisms do not come to a sudden hault. Sure, there are certain athletes that do supplement with carbohydrate drinks during a workout, but not only are those prolonged workouts, but that’s for another post entirely.

We are either in a catabolic state (muscle breakdown) or anabolic state (muscle growth). That’s it! With or without breakfast! We may be more catabolic upon wakening- due to lower blood sugar levels and because we’ve been fasting. We may be more anabolic while sleeping- due to the body’s repair systems. Nonethless, if we are in an anabolic state more than we’re in a catabolic state, we’ve won. If you sleep 5 hours per night but eat breakfast, guess what? You’re still not entirely healthy. You see during a nascar race, some cars are winning more than losing. Some are losing more than they are winning. Some come from behind and win the whole thing. Some lead the whole way and end up losing last minute. What matters is the outcome of the total race. If a car is consistent enough, it can pull through, make up for whatever it has missed (missing breakfast) and still win- that’s it!

Logically speaking, those who partake in Ramadan, the religious fasting, would seem to be less healthy than those who didn’t based on the idea that breakfast is the holy grail. Interestingly enough, those partaking in this religious fast had favorable effects on several health-related outcomes, including blood pressure, blood lipids, insulin sensitivity and biomarkers of oxidative stress. Now these favorable effects can be said to come from the fact that these people refrain from using refined carbohydrates, food additives, preservatives, sweeteners, etc (things that aren’t entirely healthy anyways. So, looking deeper into Ramadan, it was interesting to find out that the effects of Ramadan-style fasting on exercise performance are generally small. So, it is safe to assume that because fasting takes place over an 8-10 hour period, some of these people exercise without eating breakfast. But in order to be able to do so consistently, they have to eat enough throughout the rest of the day. This example is a little extreme, but I’m merely trying to prove a point. I’m not now favoring a no breakfast rule. I’m simply trying to convey that there are no absolutes. 

Many nutritionists say that breakfast should be the largest meal of the day. Say that to the wrong person, and they’re left in a food coma for the rest of the day feeling sluggish and hazy because of eating too much food, particularly in the form of carbohydrates. For someone who doesn’t eat breakfast at all or prefers a smaller one, this idea can make them feel like they’re doing something wrong. When it comes to this “world of absolutes,” if someone who’s trying to lose weight skips breakfast, they may feel like they have to start over the next day. Or, they may feel like they ruined their day, and they may end up eating crap for the rest of the day. For someone who’s a performance athlete, they may feel that if they don’t eat breakfast or don’t eat enough, their performance will be out of wack and negatively affected. Play into these mindsets, and it doesn’t matter how well or poorly you’ve eaten because thinking negatively will hinder performance even if you were superman or were able to walk on fire. Some people think this way which is why there cannot be a world of cookie-cutter absolutes. This reason is more psychological than anything else, but a healthy mindset is half the battle anyways.

Breakfast does not have a substantial physiological benefit. Breakfast, itself, does not make you lose more weight. If you skip breakfast, you will not suddenly begin storing excess fat from every other meal. Yes, breakfast can surely help you get enough calories in for the day, especially if you have time constraints, have a hard time eating often or have a hard time holding down a lot of food. Sure, breakfast can help you get in your daily recommended vitamins and minerals. Breakfast, for some, can also help you feel less hungry, and it can help you avoid over-eating later on because of the foolish decisions ravenous hunger sometimes causes.

Nonetheless, these are subjective reasons why brekafast may be beneficial, once again depending on the person. Hell, skipping breakfast can even enhance alertness, attention and performance, particularly in kids. Total caloric intake as well as micronutrient denisty is what will determine your performance, looks, mental status, first-pumping abilities.

Now, if you do like breakfast, the only thing special about this is your unfortunately clueless inability to see how that green paper you work your ass off to have myseriously creeps out of your wallet to support the finer things in life that general mills likes to have.

The “Special K” diet was designed to get you to eat it twice a day, not because it leads to long-term health and weight gain. It makes you buy more boxes to supply your new twice-a-day useful as slamming a door shut on your fingers habit. For an even added bonus, eat Special K in the morning, and you can easily restrict your recommended caloric intake so much so that you can be ready to destroy your cabinets when you get home. Famished anyone? Special K products, along with many other cereals and instant breakfast options are highly processed. Don’t get me started on the low-quality meat and sodium content in lean cuisine. With Special K and the like, any fiber content is stripped from the grain (refined grains). Any natural nutrients have been replaced with added (non naturally occurring) vitamins and minerals. All in all, these products are loaded with preservatives, simple sugars and ingredients that you wouldn’t dare pronounce. Because they’re so refined and contain very little fiber, they have a high glycemic load. So, the carbohydrates (with little to no protein) in Special K and other similar pre-packaged products are rapidly digested by the body and spike insulin levels, which can leave you hungry, moody and lethargic later in the day. The reason that these products “work,” are because they simply help with caloric reduction (obviously not in the best ways). If you want to prevent yo-yo dieting before it starts, STOP EATING BULLSHIT AND START QUESTIONING CLAIMS THAT SEEM TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. If someone told you that working less makes you more money, you’d instantly question that. (Although its possible, it is not how most people make it through life.) Yet, someone tells you eat less to lose more, and all of a sudden, everyone believes it without a shadow of doubt. Recipe for disaster!

Eat Smarter!

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