We say breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a poor man, but in reality, especially in Italy, it is exactly the opposite.
In fact, many Italians skip breakfast, eat a sandwich for lunch and then inevitably end up bingeing at dinner.
On the scientific level, as regards the distribution of meals throughout the day, there are opposing theses. On the one hand it is believed that the food taken in the evening, for hormonal reasons linked to the increase insulin, is more easily converted into fat.
It is therefore suggested to eat more foods in the first part of the day and in particular at breakfast after the hours of fasting at night. On the other hand, studies involving intermittent fasting (for example the 16/8 protocol with 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of fasting), involve skipping breakfast.
These data seem to suggest that it does not matter when food is taken and that what matters is to guarantee numerous hours of “metabolic silence” which could help “calibrate” the metabolism and regenerate the damaged cells of our body.
Where is the truth? As often happens in the biomedical field, there is no single answer.
I believe that on a practical level it is necessary to clarify some aspects: those who approach a well-calibrated intermittent fasting protocol generally have been taking care of their diet for a long time and know the basic rules well. Practicing intermittent fasting does not mean in fact, simply skip breakfast and binge in the evening.
Having said that, I believe that these approaches are not to be considered general rules for a healthy diet, but specific protocols that should be customized with the support of an expert doctor.
Therefore, as a general rule to improve one’s diet, the adoption of a correct rhythm of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner remains valid.
Breakfast is often the obstacle bigger, and it is very important to have a healthy breakfast. So let’s see 5 basic rules to start from:
1. Find the time by getting up first
The first reason people skip breakfast is that they get up too late and have to run out of the house. A good practice is to start anticipating the wake-up time a little so that you can sit at the table calmly.
2. Eliminate sugars
Sugars are always a problem for our metabolism but in the morning, after hours of fasting, they are even more so. The surge in blood glucose represents an awakening that is too abrupt for the pancreas which leads to a high production of insulin which in turn brings the blood sugar back to values below the starting point. For this reason, shortly after a breakfast rich in sugars, we are hungry again and we are forced to go to the bar to have something sweet. You enter a harmful vicious circle.
So we eliminate jams, honey, cakes, pies, croissants and even refined breakfast cereals.
3. Insert whole grains and fruit
To have a correct and healthy recharge of energy, instead of sugars we can choose whole grains. These, being rich in fiber, recharge our energy batteries, but without creating excessive fluctuations in blood sugar. We can choose wholemeal bread or whole grains to put in milk (cow or vegetable). Even fruit, despite being sugary, is rich in fiber and can be a component of our breakfast.
4. Insert proteins
Proteins are four times more satiety than carbohydrates and fats and therefore should be a fundamental component of a good breakfast. Furthermore, proteins activate the metabolism thanks to their thermogenic effect: for every 100KCal of proteins to be metabolized, 25 are consumed.
The ideal choices for breakfast are eggs, sugar-free natural yogurt, ricotta and cheeses for those who eat them. For the more daring, smoked salmon can be added from time to time. Always occasionally bresaola and other cold cuts.
5. Insert healthy fats
Fats have been demonized for decades with the only consequence that people have consumed more sugar with harmful effects on metabolism and health. In reality, if the correct types are chosen, fats are a surplus for our health. In the case of breakfast, coconut, avocado (excellent on wholemeal bread), natural walnut or almond creams, whole nuts and even a modest amount of butter are all viable options.
A well-balanced breakfast is a great way to start the day. Together with coffee or tea, possibly without sugar, adding a series of really nourishing and potentiating foods allows you to avoid drops in concentration and hunger pangs throughout the day.
Also better distribution of food intake during the day leads to less hungry in the evening thus avoiding dangerous binges. If you are not used to having breakfast, start gradually.
These are just a few tips to improve your health and start the day with more energy. Learn how to permanently improve your nutrition to give your best every day!