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Do news reports with conflicting health advice make you scratch your head in bewilderment? Read on to put an end to your dilemmas, once and for all
Confusion is the hallmark of our over-communicated society. Amid explosion of news media and the resulting excess of mental stimuli, we often find ourselves at an intersection of truths—or supposed truths. So much information is being bombarded at us from all sides that it’s become nearly impossible to tell fact from fiction. In some areas of life, this confusion is more serious than others—our health, for instance. For every new finding that confirms a belief, there is one that rubbishes it. In such a scenario, how do we make up our minds? For example, there is no doubt that drinking water is essential, but must we all have eight glasses of water? Or should we allow our thirst mechanism to dictate how much we drink? What about ‘trans fats’? Do they deserve their reprehensible reputation? Do dark chocolates actually help our heart or is it a belief propagated by smart PR professionals of chocolate companies?
While we cannot solve every puzzle, in the following pages, we have attempted to clear the air around many popular health notions, formed and fuelled by the mass media.
In the olden days, breakfast was a large meal comprising calorie-dense foods. It was the heaviest meal of the day—and appropriately so, as the rest of the day involved much physical labour. Cut to the 21st century: Advances in technology and transportation have made physical activity almost redundant. We work on our desks, participate in conferences via internet, meet friends on Facebook, watch films on home theatre [in the comfort of our living rooms], order food at home and so on.
If we compare our lifestyles with those of our ancestors, we probably sit more in a year than our ancestors did in their entire lives. With such sedentary lifestyles, hasn’t breakfast lost its significance? The answer is ‘No’.
The first meal of the day is important as it is crucial to your metabolism, physical inactivity notwithstanding. Those who eat breakfast regularly have a higher metabolism than those who skip it. What’s more, breakfast eaters also tend to eat less during the day and consequently manage their weight better.
However, before you decide to go gorging every morning, understand that even though breakfast continues to be important, what has changed is how much you eat. Today, the amount you eat for breakfast depends on factors such as how hungry you are in the morning, how heavy your last meal was and the interval between the two.
So, you don’t have to go all the way and have eggs, potatoes, milk, toast, cereal, fruits and everything that you see on a typical breakfast spread. Even a bowl of oats or a glass of milkshake works well if that’s all you feel like having. If you wake up and you’re not hungry, it means your metabolism is just limping along and is not functioning at its best. But “it’s still important to eat breakfast even if you’re not hungry,” insists fitness trainer Bob Greene.
To read the rest of the article, BUY the February 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing now. [Available in print only within India.]
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