Starting the day right

Posted: November 4, 2011

Why breakfast is important

What do you eat for breakfast?

By Wilson Kozel, Talon Staff Writer

“Without it, I would be in class thinking about it and wanting it,” said senior Jake Binning. “Since I can get it at home for free, I may as well take it.”

Binning is referring to breakfast. People always hear about how breakfast is the “most important meal of the day.” But what makes breakfast so important?

A Harvard University Medical School study found that eating breakfast regularly can be a major factor in healthy weight loss as well as in reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Another study, conducted by the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2003 reported that skipping breakfast can quadruple the risk of obesity.

“People that under-eat in the early part of the day often go home and over-eat in the later part of the day,” said Christine Erlenborn RN, the new nurse at Minnehaha Academy. “Research has shown over and over again that people who eat breakfast have a more healthy body mass index.”

Nutritionists encourage people to not eat just anything for breakfast. More sugary cereals and other foods have a high glycemic index, meaning the carbohydrates they contain are used up more quickly. People are encouraged to choose healthier options such as oatmeal, fruit or high fiber/low sugar cereals (less than 10 grams sugar per serving). This provides a slower burning, longer lasting energy as opposed to a “sugar rush”.

“It’s good to have a combination of things,” said Elizabeth Dietz MD, pediatrician at Aspen Medical Group’s Bandana Square location. “Having a high carb meal, either a doughnut or sugary cereal without a lot of protein, gives you a spike in your blood sugar, which gives you a little more energy right away but then it bottoms out fast, and by mid morning you’re going to have low energy again.”

Low energy can have a great impact a student’s performance in school.

“It helps me focus and concentrate when my stomach’s full,” said Senior Isaac Lee. “But when my stomach’s empty, I just can’t concentrate.”

Eating a healthy breakfast goes a long way for those participating in sports.

“It is especially important for athletes that are using a lot more calories to have that continual source of calories throughout the day, rather than a lot of calories in a short span of time,” Dietz said.

Why isn’t everyone eating breakfast since it’s so important?

It seems, most students skip eating the morning meal in order to get a little extra bit of sleep.

“A high-schooler needs his beauty sleep,” Lee said. “I need sleep to have a great day at school communicating with teachers, socializing with friends, and working and concentrating on homework,” Lee added.

Although sleep is very important for teens, breakfast is important as well.

“Breakfast is especially important for teens and young adults,” Erlenborn said. “Your body is growing and your mind is developing, so it is really important because it helps you develop in a healthy way.”

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