Common wisdom preaches that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and eating it is paramount to enjoying good health. Whether you are trying to lose weight or live healthfully, breakfast is touted as the key ingredient. But is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Or is it just a marketing ploy from breakfast cereal companies that has gained traction over the years?
Back in the 1960s, a study of residents in a town in California found that those who were considered healthy routinely ate breakfast, exercised and got plenty of sleep. Since then, breakfast has been considered to be an essential component of healthful living, along with regular exercise and other lifestyle factors. A more recent study has found that breakfast plays less of a role in maintaining health than was previously thought. As far as losing weight, people who ate breakfast lost as much as those who opted to skip breakfast.
In modern times, more and more people are going without breakfast. And when they do eat breakfast, they are going for a hot meal rather than a cold bowl of cereal. Further research shows that eating first thing in the morning is not what most people do, as most people do not wake up hungry. So eating your first meal at 10 a.m. is not going to hurt your health. What matters more than when you eat your first meal, is what you eat as your first meal. Although many traditional breakfast foods are carbohydrates, you are better off skipping breakfast than enjoying a bagel or other carb-rich breakfast treat.
By eating a high carb breakfast, your body’s insulin levels will spike causing it store fat. As a result, you will have trouble cutting back on calories and losing weight. By contrast, having an omelet means that your digestion will slow down, so you feel full and satisfied for longer. Having a high protein breakfast also means that you will probably eat less the rest of the day, so you consume less overall.
Eating eggs early in the day is actually a return to pre-cereal days when farmers commonly ate eggs for breakfast, rather than grains. So skipping breakfast is not a big deal, but make sure that you eat right when you do eat.
Another call for eating breakfast is because it was thought when people do not eat breakfast early in the day, they make up for the calorie deficit by consuming more calories later in the day, either through a larger lunch or constant snacking. Further studies have shown that people who eat breakfast and people who do not actually consume similar amounts of calories, which means that eating breakfast does not affect your overall daily intake of calories.
Overall, studies seem to indicate that breakfast does not play much of a role in weight loss. Eating it does not make you lose weight, but skipping breakfast does not cause weight gain either. What does matter is what you eat, so make it healthy.