I normally don’t have appetite in the mornings when I wake up, so I don’t take breakfast regularly. I always wait until around 1pm and have a heavy meal which serves as breakfast, lunch and supper. I must say that I feel very healthy but my friends tell me this is not proper. How should I go about normalising my eating habits?
What your friends are saying is correct. Skipping breakfast, taking a heavy meal once a day, both are not healthy.
Breakfast is an important meal of the day. In the overnight fasting period, that is, for 8-10 hours after dinner, the food consumed is metabolised. Thus the glucose levels built up with dinner tend to reduce by morning. If one does not replenish them with food, he/she is bound to feel weak. Acid is present in inner lining of stomach, which forms a protective covering for the stomach. This is neutralized with food. When one does not eat for a long time, this acid is not neutralised, causing burning pain in stomach and chest, nausea and or bilious vomiting. This kills appetite as well, reducing intake of food, thus repeating the vicious circle. When a person eats only once in the whole day, he is bound to eat more naturally whenever food is taken. This puts a big load on the alimentary system, impairing digestion. This again manifests as sense of abdominal bloating after food, nausea, vomiting or heart burn. Due to the discomfort caused after eating, the individual avoids eating or reduces quantity of food consumed. This impairs nutrition. Moreover assimilation of nutrients is also affected, when one eats a big quantity once in the day.
If breakfast is avoided daily, the body’s alimentary system starts getting acclimatized to such routine, thus impairing appetite in morning. This would further impair nutrition.
Therefore to avoid such complications, it is advisable to start having breakfast every day. Even if there is no appetite, small quantity can be consumed and gradually the quantity consumed can be increased. It can be a light meal like just milk and porridge with fruits or bread. Try to eat at a fixed time daily, and gradually the body will get adapted to it and you shall start feeling hungry at breakfast time. Also try to take small frequent meals at other time as well.
Dr Rachna Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital