5 reasons runners need a good breakfast

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1. Maintain muscle

After a night of sleep, your body is in breakdown mode, especially when it comes to muscle proteins. It's key to refresh your muscle cells with amino acids - the building blocks of protein. Aim for 20 to 25 grams of high-quality protein along with a dose of 50 to 100 grams of carbs to replenish the fuel your muscles need.

 

2. Control weight

Many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast maintain a healthier body weight and have less body fat than those who skip a morning meal. Research also shows that establishing a routine of eating breakfast can help you make wiser choices and curb calorie intake later int he day. The US National Weight Control Registry, which has tracked successful "losers" for more than 20 years, notes that about 80 per cent of people who have lost weight and kept it off for years routinely eat breakfast.

 

3. Power your brain

Circulating carbohydrates (blood sugar) are critical fuel for your brain. Studies have shown that for both kids and adults, operation on no breakfast short-changes thinking power and can affect maths skills, reading comprehension and memory. Studies with children also show that breakfast eaters tend to behave better at school and have more conducive social skills. (Any adult who has had the deal with a "hangry" co-worker can probably attest that the same is true for grown-ups!)

 

4. Improve your diet

Breakfast eaters tend to have a better overall diet than breakfast skippers, and a greater intake of an array of essential nutrients like protein, fibre, calcium, potassium and iron. Even opting for a basic bowl of cold cereal (topped with milk of one sort or another) and fruit results in improved intakes of calcium, vitamin D, protein and other vitamins and minerals.

 

5. Reduce disease risk

People who eat breakfast tend to have lower cholesterol levels, which translates to a reduced risk for heart disease. For example, those who choose cereal (particularly oatmeal and other oat-based options) take in more soluble fibre, which may lower harmful LDL levels. Even morning egg eaters have been shown to have cholesterol levels that are just as healthy as those of people who skip eggs (or breakfast altogether). Eating a meal first thing also helps regulate your blood sugar levels, which may help explain why some evidence shows that breakfast eaters have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.