Is Breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
How To Use Food To Improve Focus & Drive
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After all, a car can’t go if there isn’t any fuel in the tank. But what can you eat to set your day up for success?
We all know that feeling of being rushed in the morning, grabbing a bagel on the way out the door, or in the drive-thru at Starbucks. We grab something quick just to quiet down our growling stomachs, only to feel tired and hungry an hour later. Something is better than nothing though, right?
No. What you eat first thing in the morning is telling your body what kind of neurotransmitters it should produce for that day. Carbohydrates are made of simple sugars that burn quickly and increase serotonin levels in your body, which are not good for sustained energy or focus and drive.
A high protein breakfast would be the best for performance. Good sources of protein have been shown to increase the amount of acetylcholine and dopamine production, allowing you more focus and motivation to get things done.
“What you eat first thing in the morning is telling your body what kind of neurotransmitters it should produce for the day.”
Acetylcholine is an essential neurotransmitter for muscle contraction and memory. It is involved in every motor function of your body. Not only will increasing acetylcholine help you get stronger, but it will also improve your brain function.
Dopamine has 2 very important functions- it is released as a reward, making you feel good, and it helps you control movement. By increasing the amount of dopamine first thing, it helps you to improve weight management by reducing cravings for sweet/savory foods. Also, when performing tactical movements, such as squats, deadlifts, snatches, etc, controlling movement becomes essential to avoiding injury.
Opt for high-quality protein sources, such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and pasture-raised chicken to avoid unnecessary hormones entering your body and enjoy sustained blood sugar throughout the day without energy crashes.
Leidy HJ, Ortinau LC, Douglas SM, Hoertel HA. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(4):677-688. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053116
Leidy HJ, Hoertel HA, Douglas SM, Higgins KA, Shafer RS. A high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in “Breakfast skipping” adolescents. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Sep;23(9):1761-4. doi: 10.1002/oby.21185. Epub 2015 Aug 4. PMID: 26239831.