Breaking the Fast

By the time breakfast rolls around most people have gone 8-12 hours without eating. Breakfast makes an important contribution to both our mind and body yet up to 18% of Americans adults skip breakfast and 40% of tweens and teens miss it on a regular basis. Twenty percent eat it away from home in restaurants or as takeout.  According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) only 60% of us eat breakfast at home, the rest of us head out on a low tank of gas. It is the most frequently skipped meal.  Common excuses for skipping breakfast include: “I have to run or I’ll be late, I’m just not hungry that early in the morning, it makes me nauseous” and “I’m trying to lose a few pounds”. Breakfast eaters share many of the following characteristics that are beneficial in school, work and athletic performance.

• Better hand eye coordination
• Higher attendance
• Improved concentration
• Greater spatial and cognitive problem solving
• More nutritious diet, better intake of vitamin A, C, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc and fiber

While breakfast only contributes 17% of our daily calories, it accounts for a greater percentage of calcium, Vitamin D and potassium.  Breakfast skippers tend to have a higher incidence of obesity and their diets that are higher in saturated fat and cholesterol.

As an athlete skipping meals causes the body to rely on glycogen storage in the liver and muscle for energy. Performance will improve if these resources are topped off instead of running on reserves.  In order for an athlete to excel, they must put forth their best effort at every training session. Improving performance means not missing practice, showing up alert and focused and not starting your engine cold for morning workouts.  Break the fast!

Categories: Nutrition & Wellness

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