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Convenience Still a Driving Factor when It Comes to American Breakfast

From the earliest days of the republic, Americans broke their fast in the morning by eating whatever was most easily available

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Convenience, American, Breakfast
Originally invented to cure health problems, cereal became a staple on American breakfast tables due to its convenience as well as marketing efforts by cereal makers. (Photo courtesy Flickr user with wind via Creative Commons license. VOA

From the earliest days of the republic, Americans broke their fast in the morning by eating whatever was most easily available, which often included bread, eggs or leftovers.

Convenience is still a driving factor when it comes to breakfast, but what is eaten has evolved over time. The habit of consuming certain foods for breakfast, such as cereal, is the result of extraordinarily effective marketing.

“Advertising was practically invented to sell cereal,” says Heather Arndt Anderson, the author of “Breakfast: A History.”

“One of the first ways advertising was successfully or effectively used was to convince mothers that it was OK for their children to eat these instant cereals. It sort of offered working mothers a chance to let kids take care of themselves in the morning.”

Convenience, American, Breakfast
Advertising worker Albert Lasker came up with an ad concept that pushed drinking orange juice in an effort to sell more oranges. VOA

As women entered the workforce to help support their families, cereal was a food kids could take care of on their own without having to do anything dangerous like light a stove.

“That’s still sort of the power, really the lasting effect of breakfast as being the first meal that kids do learn how to prepare themselves,” Arndt Anderson says. “Even today, even though there are so many other instant foods or foods that do not require cooking, I know it’s the first thing I learned how to make when I was a kid.”

Advertising also played a key role in orange juice becoming a morning beverage. In 1916, a surplus of oranges gave birth to the advertising slogan, “Drink an orange,” which aimed to convince people that juicing an orange (or a few oranges) was a healthy way to start the day. Two years later, a worldwide flu epidemic prompted consumers to drink more orange juice for its health benefits.

Coffee might have the 1773 Boston Tea Party to thank for its U.S. popularity. After the colonists protested British taxation by dumping tea into Boston Harbor, some made a point of shunning tea and turning to coffee instead.

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In a 1774 letter to his wife, Founding Father John Adams wrote, “I have drank Coffee every Afternoon since, and have borne it very well. Tea must be universally renounced.”

By the 1830s, coffee was already such a staple that pioneers traveling to the American West made sure to pack coffee beans to have along on the journey.

Pancakes have also been around practically forever. Researchers believe the world’s oldest naturally preserved human mummy ate a pancake-like food as one of his last meals.

Historians think it’s possible hotcakes were relegated to the morning because they are much quicker to prepare than bread. That left cooks with plenty of time to bake fresh loaves in time for dinner.

 

Convenience, American, Breakfast
Scientists believe Europe’s oldest known natural human mummy ate a final meal 5,000 years ago that included a pancake-like food, cooked over an open fire. VOA

In addition to pancakes, U.S. households still consume other breakfast foods — like bread and eggs — that their ancestors did. Not only have those breakfast basics remained the same, but so also have people’s concerns about healthy food options.

“Before, it wasn’t like people were worried about the gluten content of bread, but they were worried about whether or not … a hot, steamy buttery roll would be too rich for the body,” says Arndt Anderson. “This idea of clean eating and healthy eating is a centuries-old construct, and the only thing that’s changed has been the details with which we define what these things are — what clean eating is, and being healthy.”

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Looking toward the future, Arndt Anderson hopes more Americans will view leftovers as a breakfast food, which in addition to being tasty, is a great way to minimize waste. (VOA)

Next Story

Workout Before Breakfast Can Make You Fit

A research team also wanted to focus on the impact on the fat stores in muscles for individuals who either worked out before or after eating and the effect this had on insulin response to feeding

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Workout
A six-week study, which involved 30 men classified as obese or overweight and compared results from two intervention groups (who ate breakfast before/after Exercise) and a control group (who made no lifestyle changes), found that people who do Workout before breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised after breakfast. Pixabay

Fitness enthusiasts, take a note! Researchers have found that Workout before breakfast could increase health benefits of exercise.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Universities of Bath and Birmingham found that by changing the timing of when you eat and exercise, one can better control the blood sugar levels.

“We found that the men in the study who exercised before breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised after,” said study author Javier Gonzalez from the University of Bath.

“Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health,” Gonzalez said.

Workout
Fitness enthusiasts, take a note! Researchers have found that Workout before breakfast could increase health benefits of exercise. Pixabay

The six-week study, which involved 30 men classified as obese or overweight and compared results from two intervention groups (who ate breakfast before/after exercise) and a control group (who made no lifestyle changes), found that people who performed exercise before breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised after breakfast.

They found that increased fat use is mainly due to lower insulin levels during exercise when people have fasted overnight, which means that they can use more of the fat from their fat tissue and the fat within their muscles as a fuel.

While this did not lead to any differences for weight loss over six weeks, it did have ‘profound and positive’ effects on their health because their bodies were better able to respond to insulin, keeping blood sugar levels under control and potentially lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The research team also wanted to focus on the impact on the fat stores in muscles for individuals who either worked out before or after eating and the effect this had on insulin response to feeding.

Workout
Changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you Workout can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health. Pixabay

Over the six-week trial, the research team found that the muscles from the group who exercised before breakfast were more responsive to insulin compared to the group who exercised after breakfast, in spite of identical training sessions and matched food intake.

The muscles from those who exercised before breakfast also showed greater increases in key proteins, specifically those involved in transporting glucose from the bloodstream to the muscles.

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For the insulin response to feeding after the six-week study, remarkably, the group who exercised after breakfast were in fact no better than the control group, the study said. (IANS)