Who else grew up being told breakfast is the most important meal of the day? For years and years I kept hearing this over and over again, mainly because I wasn’t a big breakfast person. A cup of tea first thing was all I really needed until later in the morning.
For decades we’ve been told that if you’re going to eat one meal, make sure it’s breakfast. We were told it’s how we kick start our metabolism for the day. We were told skipping breakfast will lead to overeating later in the day and weight gain. Turns out, none of this is true. Our belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is all thanks to bad research done back in the day along with a big push from breakfast cereal companies.
So what does this mean?
It means that once again we’re reminded we need an individualised approach when it comes to nutrition. What works for one person might not work for another.
Research shows that there is no real significant difference in metabolic rates in people who eat breakfast and those who don’t. Studies show there’s absolutely no difference in the amount of calories that are burnt in 24 hours in people who eat breakfast and those who don’t. This means instead of focusing on the importance of what we eat at a specific meal time, we should rather focus on our daily food intake instead. What we eat throughout the day is more important than what we eat at say breakfast, lunch or dinner.
While some studies have shown those who eat breakfast tend to be healthier, it couldn’t determine the exact reason why. It could be that the majority of breakfast eaters fuel up before or after a workout or have an overall healthier diet. This doesn’t mean though that eating breakfast means you’re healthy.
On the flip side, other studies have found those who skip breakfast generally eat less calories throughout the day. Skipping breakfast is a way to practice intermittent fasting which has some benefits for some people. However, once again we’re reminded that nutrition requires an individual approach as intermittent fasting isn’t suitable for everyone and can lead to headaches, low blood sugar and lack of concentration.
To breakfast or not to breakfast?
As you can see, there’s no easy answer. Nutrition isn’t a one size fits all. If you have always eaten breakfast and you find it has a positive effect for you, then by all means continue eating breakfast. If however you’ve always struggled to eat breakfast and you find you really struggle to get food in first thing in the morning, then you no longer need to feel guilty skipping it. Some people find that eating later in the morning or only at lunch time to work much better for them. So do what works best for you and your body.