By Amanpreet Singh
Only 50 per cent of Ngee Ann Polytechnic students have breakfast daily. Amanpreet Singh explores the consequences of it
Many of you would have heard the famous saying “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a commoner and dine like a pauper”.
In the fast-paced world we live in, we often eat it at our own time and convenience. However, there has been an increasing trend among students to skip breakfast.
npTribune conducted a survey on breakfast among 70 Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) students which unearthed some rather interesting views and habits.
More than 80 per cent of the respondents agreed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, only slightly more than 50 per cent of respondents said they had breakfast daily. The others either skipped it totally or had breakfast only occasionally.
Mrs Sara Valentine, a nutritional therapist from Valentine Nutrition, which makes use of diagnostic testing to identify and rectify health problems, says:
“I agree with the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but that depends on what you consume as well. Ideally, breakfast should always include a protein. This helps stabilise blood sugar and reduce the detrimental effects that sugar has.”
However, the reality is that some of us have no time to think about what we eat in the mornings.
Of the respondents, 55 per cent said they skipped breakfast to avoid being late for school or work while 30 per cent do so to get extra sleep. The remaining 15 per cent said they did not have the appetite for breakfast.
A study conducted by Harvard University in 2013 found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a “27 per cent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease” than those who ate on a regular basis.
Metabolism has evolved to be able to speed up or slow down according to food supplied to the body. Therefore, Ms Valentine believes the most significant long-term effect is on one’s metabolic system.
“Look at it this way, when you skip breakfast regularly, you are sending a message to your body that it needs to slow down its metabolism as it needs to prepare to store extra energy because it doesn’t know when the next meal is coming.”
She adds that this results in fatigue and people putting on more weight as their bodies “do not want to release glucose from fat stored as energy”.
So how do we encourage youths not to skip breakfast?
For starters, make the effort to get out of bed 10 minutes earlier than usual. Alternatively, plan what you want to have for breakfast the night before. We often spend more time on planning than the execution itself, and that causes the delay.
Managing priorities is also an ideal way to stop skipping breakfast.
“We are a society of excuses, make no mistake about that. We can always find time for anything we decide to do in life,” says the mother of three.
She stresses; “Food is a medicine. Your body is the filter that it either uses or does its best to eliminate. You feed your body well and it will serve you well.”