“Don’t Eat A Gremlin For Breakfast”
By: Nate Sauber
As humans we all feel cognizant about our bodyweight at some point. It is an entirely normal and helpful form of thinking to moderately better our health and how we see ourselves. However, many of our approaches do not necessarily help, and in fact, counter and make matters worse. One of the most make-or-break forms of maintaining a proper physical and mental well-being starts at the moment we wake up.
Our mothers, and their mother’s mothers, have always tried to instill that we should begin our day eating a healthy breakfast – but why? Could we not just skip this meal and sleep in a little more? Maybe we think that eating less will take off less around the sides? In actuality, our stomachs grumble for a neurological reason. Suppressing a healthy meal at the beginning of the day could lead to increased weight gain and unhealthy eating decisions. But if you’re not entirely convinced, why not take a look at what science says about the necessity of choosing breakfast.
When our stomachs are empty it releases a hormone called Ghrelin, not to be confused with a gremlin. Ghrelin interacts with our brain linking up with the neurotransmitter NPY that turns on our desire to eat. Yes, that it is correct. Your own body turns you on. Once you satisfy this desire by eating, Ghrelin recedes and thus the hunger subsides. Reciprocally, a different hormone called Leptin releases from the stomach and fat cells after eating and interferes with NPY further turning off the desire to eat which subsequently makes you feel full.
So if this hunger regulation system is naturally in place, why do we ignore it and engorge in an extra helping of Patty’s Farewell Cake?
When you starve yourself your body and brain create intense urges to eat high calorie foods as opposed to healthy options causing stress on your body. However, don’t blame yourself too harshly because this is probably associated with an evolutionary process from thousands of years ago.
Food psychologists theorize that during the early stages of mankind energy rich foods such as those with lots of fats and sugars were difficult to acquire. As hunter-gatherers, the human body needed to capitalize on these meals for survival and as a result they became extremely desirable. However, today we can get a high fat and sugary meal on every corner of every street at any hour. This furthers the problem because the instinct and desires still remain and so we struggle to stop eating these meals. “Bad, Society! Bad!”
Recently it has been discovered that this continual intake of fat and sugar overrides the regulatory system of Ghrelin and Leptin, which ironically is indeed like a gremlin. The signaling pathway is insufficient to control our new diet and so our initial evolutionary desire affects our ability to choose wisely and healthily. It’s sadly cyclical. The more unhealthy foods you eat, the more you crave food.
The tried-and-true “well balanced breakfast” specifically helps to keep hormonal levels at a regular consistency as well as other benefits like regulating blood pressure and giving your metabolism a boost to burn more calories throughout the day. This way you avoid over-compensation, cut inadvertent weight gain and feel less hungry during the day.
“So what do I eat,” you ask.
Below are options of healthy choices that not only better our bodies but also subconsciously help us rely on healthy eating.
One or two eggs:
Eggs sometimes get a bit chastised because they contribute to our raising cholesterol levels. However, in moderation they provide an excellent source of protein that helps ward off unhealthy snacking later in the day. The yolks are also a great source of Vitamin-B, which promotes eye health and memory.
Bananas are the ultimate snack to snag as you leave the house. Rich in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, they provide essential nutrients that aren’t necessarily met in a lot of food groups.
Think of berries like little soldiers for your body. They are armed with antioxidants and Vitamin-C that combats harmful properties from meddling. They’re the good guys.
Whether you like it or not there is no doubting that this breakfast option is packed with dietary fiber. Oatmeal is not only a great choice to keep fuller longer, but it also helps lowering cholesterol. If you’re not a fan, throw some berries and banana on top to sweeten it up.