We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day—now, new research suggests a new reason why that is true. Skipping breakfast may alter the ways our brains respond to food, leading to an increased attraction to high calorie, fatty foods, as well as increased intake at the next meal.
In a study presented in late 2012, researchers from the Imperial College London looked at brain scans of people who skipped breakfast and compared them to scans performed on the same group after eating a large breakfast. When breakfast was skipped, the part of the brain thought to be engaged in food attraction was more active and responsive to images of high calorie foods. Skipping breakfast also led to participants eating 20 percent more calories at lunch.
For those following a gluten-free lifestyle, eating a balanced breakfast to avoid derailing weight management goals is especially important. Despite the health-halo surrounding gluten-free products, they are often formulated with added fats and sugars to improve flavor and mouth feel. Since skipping breakfast can increase the appeal of and intake of calorically dense foods, those already high calorie gluten-free foods could lead to consistent overeating without even realizing it! Label reading is essential to not only avoid gluten, but also to make sure the gluten-free products on your plate are nutritionally sound choices.