Eating: You're Doing It Backwards

So you're going to drive somewhere, and you need to fill the car up. Do you put in 5 litres, then another 10 and then add another 30 when you're nearer the end of the trip, or do you fill up the tank straight away and go? Stupid question, but we don't seem to fuel our bodies the same way. Because of jobs, late nights (and mornings), alarm clocks, the time it takes to cook and quite a few other factors, in the west we tend to eat a tiny (and nutritionally useless) breakfast, a medium lunch and then a comparatively huge dinner, right before we settling down for the night and spend 6-9 hours sleeping.

Good News - You Need a Bigger Breakfast
To eat heathily, and fuel our bodies when they need it, rather than when it's convenient, we need to balance the size of our meals; we need to increase the size and nutritional content of our breakfasts, have better lunches and actually decrease the size of our dinners so that we're not trying to digest them when we're about to go to sleep. Remember that it's also the nutritional content of the breakfast, not just the size, so eating a second bowl of Special K in the morning just isn't going to cut it.

Even More Good News - Have Some Bacon!
Many nutritional experts believe that we also need to increase the amount of meat we have in the morning to ensure a balanced diet throughout the day. It also gives us plenty of time to digest it properly and make good use of the energy it gives us; meat is digested slowly, releasing a slow and long-lasting supply of sugar into the blood stream which will keep you going, and full, for longer. If you fill an empty stomach with carbs and no proteins, you're triggering insulin overkill which means your sugars will drop more quickly. Eggs are also a fantastic addition to any breakfast - you can even get toasters that boil your eggs while your toast is toasting! If you're not going to need a lot of energy for the evening, or if you're having a late dinner, it's a good idea to try to eat as little meat as possible, and reduce the size of your dinner to suit.

Protein is also instrumental in creating and maintaining muscle mass - the rate at which you can build muscle stays constant throughout your life, but lowering your protein intake has a larger impact on your muscle mass as you get older, which is why you need to maintain a decent diet throughout your life time, to ensure that you can stay active and strong for as long as possible. The average person eats around 10g of protein during breakfast, around 15g at lunch and then 25-30g at dinner - not only does it usually fall below the recommended daily amount (roughly 1g per kilo of weight, or 1.4g per kilo if you're active), but it's also very uneven. Aiming for equal amounts, spread throughout the day is far healthier, and will help you maintain constant levels of sugar and muscle mass.

If that hasn't convinced you to have an egg or some bacon with breakfast, then this should; experts investigated the impact of increasing protein on muscle mass; when increasing protein intake by as much as 300%, the ability to make muscle did not increase by much at all. It actually stayed pretty much the same. More protein doesn't necessarily lead to more muscle - that depends more onwhen you eat the protein and how you eat it – higher quality sources like eggs and dairy are more efficient than vegetable sources such as soy. Eating it throughout the day has a larger impact than eating a lot of protein once a day. 

...And Try to Eat More Often!

Ideally, you should be eating 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day instead of 2-3. This will help increase your metabolism by ensuring that your body gets a steady stream of sugar into the blood, and doesn't feel the need to hold on to any extra fats in case of starvation.

It can be difficult to make healthy meals first thing in the morning, or even after a long day at work, or to think of quick snacks that don't make you pile on the pounds. I'll be posting healthy recipes and ideas on this blog to give you a bit more inspiration! If you'd like to receive these direct to your inbox, just subscribe using the box at the top right.

Thanks to Knick for the image.

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