Raise your hand if you’ve ever been told to eat breakfast because “it’s the most important meal of the day”. If you’ve ever seen an advertisement, your hand is probably up. But maybe you’ve also heard others argue that breakfast is, in fact, not that important. So what gives? What’s up with breakfast?
Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal?
Breakfast and Weight Loss
One of the cruxes behind defining breakfast’s importance is whether or not it improves weight loss.
Turns out, that’s kind of under contention. While there have been a lot of studies into the matter, it turns out that sampling humans is hard. Yes, people who eat breakfast tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI). Conversely, those who skip breakfast tend to be obese. However, it’s also hard to say if breakfast is making these people less obese or if people who have healthier habits also tend to eat breakfast.
Here’s a study regarding breakfast and weight loss, by the way. In this study, participants were instructed to either eat or skip breakfast–outside of that, calorie intake was identical.
The long short is that eating breakfast does seem to help reduce weight, especially dietary fat and whatnot. Big asterisk, it’s probably not because the study participants were simply eating breakfast. It’s probably because breakfast reduces the likelihood of someone making less-than-ideal dietary decisions.
Why Do We Talk About Breakfast?
Turns out the whole breakfast debate can be traced back to like the 19th Century. You can thank cereal and Kellogg’s brand. If you didn’t know already, the whole concept of Kellogg’s cereal was religious. The brand was meant to be “morally righteous” if you bought and ate Kellogg’s. Later evolving into “if you eat breakfast you’ll be more productive at work.” Because apparently, everything in the 20th and 21st Centuries has to be relative to how much capital you can generate.
Anyway, the long short is that this whole breakfast discussion kind of got started thanks to cereal marketing.
So Why Breakfast?
Most people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. The general consensus is that breakfast doesn’t seem to have a relationship with weight. At least the simple fact that you ate breakfast doesn’t mean you’re gonna lose weight. Generally, people choose to eat or not eat breakfast as a weight thing, and if they’re not related, why would anyone choose to waste time on breakfast?
Well if you don’t trust yourself to have good habits, breakfast seems to be a good way to discipline your daily routine. At any rate, we know “breakfast” is by definition the “breaking” of your nightly fast. That’s probably why people who skip breakfast tend to be obese. If you’ve skipped breakfast, you’re going to be running on empty for a good chunk of your day. As a result, you’re going to look for the most efficient way to get energy back into your system.
Typically, that’s not the healthiest food.
So at the end of the day, this whole discussion is kind of moot. Breakfast probably isn’t an end-all-be-all meal that will extend your life by decades. We’d probably eat more breakfast if that was the case. But hey, you’ll probably pick up healthier habits by eating breakfast at the very least. In that case, maybe give a nice breakfast a shot. But make sure it’s you know, it’s actually good for you. Unlike most breakfast cereals.
Know your breakfast meals? Test yourself here.