No More Excuses: Waking Up Your Stomach

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

Bringing Back Breakfast: Not Hungry Excuse

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For those of you like me who have to eat breakfast first thing after waking up, it can be hard to understand how someone wouldn’t be hungry after sleeping 7 or more hours. While the possible physiological reasoning for not having an appetite in the morning is still being studied, there has been significant research into the possibility that our eating patterns can cause hormonal changes in our bodies making us not realize that we are hungry when we wake up. Without getting too deep into the science behind hunger cues, the hormone ghrelin is widely accepted as being the hormone that signals to the brain that we’re hungry.

In a study done by Frecka and Mattes, the question of whether or not our eating patterns can influence the release of ghrelin was observed. While the study didn’t conclude that eating patterns for sure alter ghrelin release, it did recognize that there is a strong relationship between the two. So what does this mean for you? It could mean that if you’ve gotten into the habit of skipping breakfast that your body no longer recognizes that it’s hungry in the morning, even though it probably is.

 

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So what can you do? Start slowly. If you usually don’t eat anything in the morning, start with a piece of fruit and some protein, maybe a banana with peanut butter or peaches with a couple dollops of Greek yogurt. Over time, your body may be better able to tolerate a more substantial breakfast. Smoothies are another great option. Not only will you be getting fruit, calcium, and protein, you can also drink them slowly, so it isn’t such a shock to your system. Try our purple power smoothie or berry mango smoothie!

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If breakfast foods in general just aren’t appealing to you, eat something that is. Breakfast in many cultures is much more savory than the typical American breakfast. There’s no rule about what you can eat at breakfast: as long as you’re getting in a balanced, nutritious meal you’ll be starting your day off to a good start! (And remember: coffee is great with breakfast, but it doesn’t count as breakfast!)

Frecka J.M. and Mattes R.D. Possible entrainment of ghrelin to habitual meal patterns in humans. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 294:G699-G707, 2008. First published 10 January 2008; doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00448.2007

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