Breakfast – How Important is it?

by Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL

Mom was right – you shouldn’t skip breakfast. This is especially true with diabetes. When you wake up in the morning, you’ve gone many hours without eating and your body needs fuel. You wouldn’t pull your car out of the garage and drive to work without fuel in it, and your body isn’t any different.   Your body needs fuel! If you don’t give it any, it will create its own in the form of stored blood sugar from the liver. The liver may make too much sugar, and your blood sugar gets too high. Studies show people with type 2 diabetes who skip breakfast and fast until noon may have continued blood sugar spikes throughout the day. Skipping breakfast has also been linked to less efficient processing of glucose by the body, or a reduced ability to convert blood sugar into energy.

Research has shown there truly is a negative effect on how the body uses glucose when a diabetic simply skips breakfast. This means that even if you don’t eat as many carbohydrates at lunch and dinner, it will have little or no effect on reducing elevated glucose levels when you have skipped breakfast. This is because skipping breakfast may make it difficult for the pancreas to produce the right amount of insulin to properly control blood sugar. Normally, beta cells in the pancreas release insulin in response to elevated levels of sugar in the blood. But when you skip breakfast, it may cause the beta cells to delay the release of insulin and allow blood sugar levels to remain high for longer periods of time after lunch and dinner.

Remember, when you wake up in the morning, your body is in a fasting state. When you don’t give it any energy (food), your body slows down to conserve the energy it has left. Your metabolism slows down. The trick is to keep your metabolism going at a steady rate all day. One simple solution is to always eat a good, healthy breakfast.

Here’s one healthy breakfast tip: Don’t fly on a sugar high! Avoid stopping at the donut shop. Breakfast should contain a healthy amount of carbohydrates and a small amount of lean protein. The carbohydrates will give your body energy, and the protein provides staying power as well as makes you feel fuller.



Sources:  Diabetes Care, July 2015; Everyday Health

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