For calorie counters, the total is well within the 500 to 750 calories that nutritionists claim is ample. But, as Dr. Stare points out, calories are not the only consideration. The protein content (over 20 grams in this menu) is, in a way, more important. In the morning, the body, starved since the night before, is at its lowest nutritional ebb. The level of sugar in the blood—the trigger that sets off the feeling of hunger—is way down.
You should be hungry and you probably are. The danger is that you can temporarily satisfy your hunger with as little as a cup of coffee with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar. But what you need is fuel that will keep your body going until the next regular meal.
Sugar, being sugar already, is rapidly absorbed. In a matter of minutes a few spoonfuls will make the blood-sugar level skyrocket; hunger vanishes. But by midmorning it plummets and you become hungry and weak. Fat acts in just the opposite way. It delays the emptying of food from the stomach and is converted to blood sugar very slowly. Protein, however, is the most effective. It breaks down into blood sugar neither too fast nor too slow and keeps the sugar level up until lunch time.
EAT AND BE HAPPY
The person who dashes downstairs, gulps a cup of coffee and donut (carbohydrate with scant protein) and races to work is bound to feel hungry by mid-morning. When he can, he slips out for a "second breakfast." Starved again by lunch, he invariably eats more than if he had breakfasted on the larger, high-protein meal in the first place. The result; every calorie more than you need adds a little more weight.
Equally important, says Dr. Stare, is the psychological effect of a hearty breakfast. "It improves a person's outlook. If you start off with a healthy breakfast, you feel good. If you eat a lousy one, you're more apt to be down in the dumps. And—after all—eating itself is a pleasure."
In other words, don't ration your food—or your fun. Have some of both in the morning.