Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
The rumor on the street is true; breakfast really is the most important meal of the day but why? And where is the research? I can personally say that I have worked with hundreds of people on wellness and weight loss, and after I have preached the importance of eating breakfast, my feedback response is nearly always positive. It is too common for me to hear “I have more energy during the day," “I lost weight just from eating breakfast” and “I am now not overeating at night like I used to.”
I came across some pretty interesting research – all revealing that breakfast will increase your metabolism to help you shed fat!
There is something called the “second meal hypothesis." This hypothesis states that your ability to handle glucose would be extremely impaired if you skipped breakfast. It points out that eating only complex carbohydrates actually improves glucose tolerance, this means if you skip breakfast you are more likely to store the carbohydrates as fat and loss energy. I also found an interesting study on the effects of simply adding protein to breakfast in order help curb appetite. Leidy et al3 concluded that adding additional protein with breakfast will further increase satiety through increased fullness to reduce appetite during the day. Finally, the National Weight Control Registry4 concluded that 78 percent of successful weight loss clients eat breakfast daily, big news in an industry that has a 95% failure rate. And to take that one step further, researchers at Tel Aviv Unversity took overweight and obese women with metabolic syndrome and divided them into two separate weight loss groups for 12 weeks. The first group took in 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at dinnertime. The second group swapped breakfast and dinner for a consumption timeline of 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner. The end result proved that those who consumed more at breakfast lost more weight than those who consumed more at dinner (about 19 pounds vs. 8 pounds)5.
I hear so many excuses why people don’t eat breakfast, such as “I get nauseous if I eat breakfast," or “I do not have time to eat breakfast.” The truth is eating anything for breakfast is better than nothing. This is an important fact to back up since this is something I preach to my clients. The Morgan et al6 study showed the effectiveness of eating breakfast, and that breakfast has the ability to control BMI and overall health. Along these lines, Wilson et al show that by eating breakfast, individuals consume more nutrients during the day. How can you argue the fact against breakfast? Eating a good breakfast can lead to lowered BMI, decreased impulsive eating, less total fat intake, and greater cognition6,7,8,. In the end, there is no argument to be made to support skipping breakfast. When clinical experience and science both match; you see that breakfast is the most important meal of day!
- Bidwell A. “Carbohydrates dietary Fiber and Glycemic Index”. Page 12. 2012.
- Witzke K. “lifestyle & Weight-Loss Management Consultant Manual”. American Council on Exercise second edition. San Diego, Ca.
- Leidy HJ, Racki EM. “The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effects on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’ adolescents.
- The National weight Control Registry. Retrieved from: http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm 12/11/2012
- Webster S. Food for Thought. IDEA Fitness Journal. October 2013. 57.
- Morgan Karen J., Zabik Mary E., Stampley Gary L. Breakfast consumption patterns of U.S. children and adolescents. Nutrition Research. 1986 June; 6(6):635–646.
- Kleinman RE, Hall S, Green H, Korzec-Ramirez D, Patton K, Pagano ME, Murphy JM. Diet, breakfast, and academic performance in children. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002; 46(1):24-30
- Shaw Mary E. Adolescent Breakfast Skipping: An Australian Study. Adolescence. 1998; 33(132): 851-861.