(NaturalNews) Remembering to eat a hearty, healthy breakfast every morning before starting your day just might make all the difference in determining your likelihood of becoming overweight, ill, or both. A recent study out of Imperial College London (ICL) found that breakfast really does seem to be the most important meal of the day, as it not only trains the senses to desire healthier foods, but also deters cravings to binge out on unhealthy junk foods throughout the day.
Tony Goldstone and his colleagues at IRC's MRC Clinical Science Centre made inroads into better understanding this phenomenon by conducting brain scans on a group of people who were deprived of breakfast on some days, and given a full breakfast on other days. 21 men and women, all of whom were roughly 25 years of age, were shown pictures of various foods each day and asked to rate their desirability after having either eaten breakfast or not eaten breakfast.
After conducting scans on the participants' brains under both circumstances, the team learned that skipping breakfast tends to trigger activity in regions of the brain that prompt cravings for high-calorie junk foods, which typically contain high amounts of processed sugars and unhealthy fats. When participants ate a full breakfast; however, they were much less likely to have such desires, and instead stuck to a fairly regular eating plan.
"Not surprisingly, when [the participants] are fasted they are hungry and they rate the high-calorie foods as more appealing than when they are fed," said Goldstone about the findings. "For low-calorie foods, the effect is not as marked. When they come out of the scanner, they are given lunch and they eat more when they haven't had breakfast."
Not eating breakfast could be damaging your long-term health
The irregularity in eating habits that results from not eating breakfast also tends to cause individuals to eat more food in general. Depending on someone's personal food choices, this excess eating can lead to weight gain, obesity, high cholesterol, and other health problems. Starting the day off right with an energy-dense, high-protein meal, on the other hand, can help effectively regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day, tame sugar and fat cravings, and promote lasting vitality.
According to a study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA)'s annual conference back in 2003, eating breakfast can actually help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular illness. Because it stimulates proper blood sugar production and regulation, eating breakfast can help protect the heart, vital organs, digestive system, and brain from damage, as well as promote longevity.
Another 2003 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who regularly skip breakfast are 450 percent more likely to become obese than people who regularly eat breakfast. Eating fast food for breakfast; however, was found to have similar health risks as not eating any breakfast at all.