Is Breakfast Really Your Most Important Meal

To eat breakfast or to not eat breakfast – That is the real question.

Breakfast – There are those who can’t start their day without it and there are others (like me) who are grossed out by the thought of any type of food passing their lips before lunch (with the exception of coffee of course)

 

Once upon a time, a popular nutrition author named Adelle David told people to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a poor and her advice stuck.

But what does scientific research say?

Should we indeed have our biggest meal at breakfast or skip it all together like I do?

Skipping breakfast, a popular form of intermittent fasting, is a practice that I believe, SOME people can benefit from. I have discovered that what I eat (or what I don’t eat) in the mornings has an enormous impact on how I think and feel for the rest of the day.

But when I try to explain it to others I get the same reactions:

  1. That is so unhealthy, aren’t you starving? (No)
  2. Nutrition guidelines recommend that we eat breakfast! (Canada’s existing healthy eating guidelines are also ‘’one-size-fits-all, has ambiguous serving sizes and is painfully outdated)
  3. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (Depends on the context)
  4. You’ll miss out on micronutrients (Nah, I just eat my fiber and vitamins later in the day)
  5. You’ll ruin your blood sugar levels, you’ll have no energy and your mood will get affected (I adapt)

There are few truths that may have contributed to breakfast receiving this lofty titles but, after close examination, they might not have the weight of evidence you might expect …

Does skipping breakfast make you eat more?

Skipping breakfast causes the brain to react more to tasty foods (high in sugar, fats and sodium) hence you tend to eat more at lunchtime BUT most studies show that skipping breakfast results in lower total energy intake over the course of the day.

 

In other words, skip breakfast, skip the calories.

Despite greater hunger in the morning and some compensation during lunch, the effect of skipping breakfast doesn’t seem great enough to make people overshoot and eat two boxes of cookies, a jar of peanut butter, a large combo at Wendy’s and a small village later on during the day.

Doesn’t breakfast ‘kick start’ your metabolism?

Biology 101 : When you eat, your body needs energy to digest and store what you just ingested. This is called thermogenisis. So, yes, breakfast does kick-start your metabolism.

 

But there is a major problem with pinning all of your hopes on this “jump start”.

For normal people, thermogenesis count for only 10% of the calories you burn on a regular basis. So to conclude, your basal metabolic rate and the amount of physical activity you do has way more impact on the amount of calories your burn in a day.

Skipping breakfast can make some individuals feel less energetic so they might reduce their levels of physical activity without consciously realising it and gain weight – I say drink more caffeine.

Does skipping breakfast make you gain weight?

We’ve all heard it before: Skipping breakfast is associated with obesity.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that skipping breakfast CAUSES the weight gain.

Several randomized trials (where people are randomly assigned to a certain behaviour, such as eating breakfast or skipping breakfast) have NOT found any evidence suggesting that skipping breakfast causes weight gain.

Correlation doesn’t imply causation.

So, should you eat breakfast?

Public wisdom suggests that, yes, you should eat breakfast.

But the current state of scientific evidence means that, unfortunately, the simple answer is: I don’t know.

It depends.

Whether you are a religious breakfast consumer or a skipper, keep in mind that both sides might have some merits and the answer is probably not as simple as you’ve been led to believe.

Benefits of eating Breakfast

Benefits of skipping Breakfast

  • Small metabolism boost
  • Can improve weight loss by reducing caloric intake
  • Prevents overeating at your next meal
  • Reduces overall inflammation
  • Helps lower LDL cholesterol
  • Improve digestive health
  • Feel more energized
  • Reduces blood glucose levels
  • Promotes physical activity
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Enhances memory and attention span
  • Increase HGH level
  • Enhance mood
  • Enhanced immunity
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