Updated: Feb 5
“If you want to live a long life, focus on making contributions.” ...Hans Selye
In my 12 years as a personal trainer, food and nutrition has never been a greater topic of conversation than it is today. Meal plans have become a big part of my health and fitness packages, as people strive to become - and maintain - the healthiest version of themselves. With the rise in awareness about intermittent fasting, I often hear the question, "So what's the deal - am I supposed to eat breakfast or should I be intermittent fasting?"
Before I dive deeper into the advantages of eating a healthy breakfast everyday and the benefits of intermittent fasting, I want to share what is most important to me. When and where you eat are absolutely factors yes, but what makes the most difference is what you eat and how much of it. Your main focus should be on the food itself, the type of macro or micronutrient and how much you are allowed to consume. The amount of calories you consume and your macros ratio should be based on your goals and how your body reacts to specific foods.
“Macro” is short for macronutrient. What is a macronutrient ? Carbohydrates, fat, or protein. Nutrients are divided into 2 parts. Macronutrients are nutrients consumed in large amounts like carbohydrates and micronutrients are nutrients necessary in smaller doses like iron. Nutrients provide you with energy. When you're counting your “macros”, you're counting the grams of protein, carbohydrates (carbs) and fat that you're consuming.
When you intermittent fast you run the risk of missing out on crucial nutrients because the window of time you have to eat is smaller. However when you eat breakfast everyday you miss out on the benefits that fasting has to offer the body. Also remember, breakfast food can be had at anytime of the day. I scramble eggs and grill bacon between 11am and 2pm everyday depending on how late my last meal was. So if you’re a breakfast food fan, just because you do a daily fast doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on breakfast. I love breakfast food and I intermittent fast the majority of my days. Eggs and bacon at noon is just as good!
Intermittent Fasting and its Benefits
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you only eat during a specific window of time. It has become a popular way to lose weight and improve overall health. Many people experience a range of health benefits when they practice intermittent fasting. A true intermittent fast for women is 12 - 14 hours and 14 - 16 hours for men. Making it somewhat difficult to intermittent fast in a relationship, haha.
One of the most common benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss. When you fast, your body is forced to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This means that you can lose weight without having to drastically reduce your calorie intake. Additionally, intermittent fasting can help to reduce your appetite, which can make it easier to stick to a calorie-restricted diet.
Intermittent fasting can also help to improve your metabolic health. It can help to reduce levels of insulin and other hormones that can lead to weight gain. Additionally, intermittent fasting can help to reduce inflammation and improve your body’s ability to process glucose. This can help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There are also number of other health benefits reducing the risk of certain cancers, and even slowing down the aging process. Some people even report that it can improve their mental clarity and focus.
Breakfast is the first meal we eat after waking up and often referred to as the most important meal of the day. Eating a well-balanced breakfast can provide a number of health benefits.
A good breakfast can help you get an early jumpstart on the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. It generally should include whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. This combination of foods helps keep blood sugar levels stable and provides energy throughout the day. It has also been found that people who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat later in the day and are more likely to make healthier food choices.
Having breakfast in the morning can improve concentration and alertness, especially in children and teenagers. Research found that children who eat breakfast are better able to focus and perform better in school than those who do not. It may also help improve your mood and reduce stress levels.
Overall, eating a healthy breakfast every day can provide numerous health benefits. It can help improve concentration and alertness, provide balanced nutrition, aid in weight control, improve mood, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
So Which is Best For You?
When you read the perks of both scenarios, you find that the benefits are almost exactly the same. Therefore, a healthy diet is not about whether you fast or eat breakfast bright and early. It is about the quality of your food and the choices you make. Another important factor is the discipline it takes to fast for approximately 14 hours, and then to resist binging when your fasting window is complete. Can you stay below your calorie count by eating breakfast ? Can you get the nutrients you need if you do fast ? These are the types questions you need to ask and answer for yourself. We are all different and our body's have different needs. It all comes down to how you are most comfortable attacking your eating habits.
If weight loss is your goal, the absolute most important element is to eat quality foods, exercise and stay in a caloric deficit. The fast alone is not enough. Just as eating breakfast is not enough. Healthy food choices and an exercise plan for the day are all keys to unlocking your bill of health.
If you are in a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you burn) but intermittent fasting everyday, you will steadily put weight on. However you will reap the rewards of fasting on a daily basis. Such as improved metabolism and an increase in focus.
There are infinite examples which is why I began with the factors most important to me and your health. Happy Macro & Micro Monday. Keep your counts honest and your standards high. Until next time.
“Decide, Commit, Focus & Succeed.” ... Kalen Norton