Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?
Updated: Oct 23
At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But does research agree with this?
Let’s start by talking about what breakfast is. The word breakfast literally means to break the fast. Chances are you haven’t eaten since the night before and have had a 10+ hour fast when you go to eat breakfast. This means that our bodies' energy stores are low, our blood sugar is low, and we’re probably a little dehydrated. Eating breakfast solves all these things and gives us the energy to get through our mornings till we can eat again. This topic is still highly debated in the nutrition research world. Some researchers say that eating breakfast kick-starts our metabolism and helps us regulate our eating for the rest of the day. (1) While others say that it leads to weight gain and encourages consuming more throughout the day. (2) Overall, though, science agrees that eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner consistently is the healthiest way to go. Each meal is important because it provides nutrients that you may not get at other meals. For example, at breakfast people are more likely to consume fruit and dairy products. However, breakfast foods can also be fattier than lunch or dinner in the form of pastries, pancakes, French toast, and sugary cereals, which is why the research is conflicting. Eating breakfast has also been shown to reduce the amount of food eaten the rest of the day because you won’t be as hungry when lunchtime rolls around. It will also replenish your glycogen and glucose levels giving you more energy to start your morning. (3) A research study done at the University of Missouri gave teen girls who habitually skipped breakfast a protein-rich breakfast every morning. They found them to feel fuller longer, get less hungry throughout the day, and avoid that mid-afternoon crash. Brain scans taken during the study even show that eating a protein-rich breakfast reduced the need to snack through food motivation and reward urges. (4) Overall, breakfast is a good way to start your day as long as it's done healthy. Try to go for yogurt with granola or fruit, a healthy omelet with veggies, oatmeal with granola, and peanut butter!