Risky Italian Breakfasts

Those Italian Troubles
Those Italian Troubles

 

Italians's breakfast habits

 

A typical Italian breakfast: cappuccino e brioche, eaten at a café on the way to work. Lovely, but is it healthy?
(Colti Sbagli/flickr)

 

Italians have had bad breakfast habits for quite a long time, but fortunately our way of dealing with "prima colazione" has been changing. 

Our physical and mental capabilities strongly depend on this ever-important first meal of the day. Forget about this and you may end up paying the consequences dearly: from obesity to a higher probability to pick up smoking or drinking. Sounds pretty scary, right?

 

Whoever does not have an adequate breakfast and above all, not a balanced one, risks to be 4 times more prone to become obese. Skipping breakfast at a young age also places you at a higher risk of becoming a substance abuser. "Our report of Italians at breakfast time is good, but not perfect," says Michele Carruba, of the Center for Study and Research on Obesity at the University of Milan and past president of the Italian Society of Obesity (SIO). 

9 out of 10 breakfasters declare to have a regular first meal in the morning. But 15% limit themselves to 1 espresso, 25% to a cappuccino and croissant, the "Classic Italian Breakfast" at the local coffee shop.

According to experts, though, breakfast would be better consumed in your home at the table, as a moment of relaxation. It is so because human metabolism is not geared to substain prolonged fasting: this means that the average 16 hours that could separate our evening dinner to the following day's lunch are just too many. Our body would tap into our "emergency energy reserves tank," something that shouldn't really happen on a regular basis, especially in children and younger adults. Breakfast, then, has to be a proper, balanced meal, and should be consumed as such.

 

Did Italian understand the importance of breakfast?

 

A healthier, homemade version of a typical Italian breakfast: fresh bread, milk and coffee, homemade jams
(Brunifia/flickr)

 

Apparently yes. According to recent studies published by La Repubblica, Italians have embraced the trend of having a healthy and wholesome breakfast. We have apparently began to prefer vegetable sourced milks, such as soy or rice, which are more easily digested than cow milk. When it comes to yogurt, a healthy alternative to milk and cereals, "light" and "organic" versions have taken the lead on Italians tables.

Coffee maintains its place of king of breakfast, as well as fruit rich jams. Gluten free products have become increasingly popular, too, and came to substitute regular cookies and traditional "fette biscottate."

Cereals are always a popular option and the consume of granola bars have also increased. 

 

 

What's a good breakfast?

 

Wholegrain breads and cereals are a good breakfast option (brunifia/flickr)

 

So, having a good breakfast is essential to keep healthy.

What then would the ideal breakfast consist of?

You must provide yourself with 15-20% of required daily calories in your breakfast alone. It should always include a source of protein, such as milk or yogurt, one of healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals and breads, and fresh fruits and/or freshly squeezed fruit juices. Processed sugars should be banned and substituted with healthy ones such as honey or, as said, fresh fruit. 

 

A mix of fresh fruit and healthy seeds is a good breakfast (Marco Lazzaroni/flickr)