Is Breakfast Still the Most Important Meal of the Day?

For many years, we were taught that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It should be well balanced and the largest meal of the day, too. But how much truth is behind that? Is this statement still valid today? How does skipping breakfast influence our body weight? Is losing weight easier or do we actually put on weight? A long term study in the 1960’s had found a correlation between breakfast, good sleep, regular exercise and general good health and higher life expectancy.

In a study published in the „American Journal of Clinical Nutrition“ researchers found that whether we eat a breakfast or none has no influence on our weight. This study looked at data of 12.000 adults and found that eating breakfast or not had no direct impact on the Body-Mass-Index (BMI).

The researchers found a change in breakfast behaviour in the population: one in five of the adults either didn’t eat any breakfast or just has a cup of coffee in the morning. A further 25% of the questioned adults stated that they have no breakfast but will eat a yoghurt or a cereal bar sometime during the morning before lunch. Especially young people did not eat breakfast. They do so if they have time and felt like it.

Overall, the study found that is wasn’t important WHEN we have breakfast but rather WHAT we eat. A breakfast of processed carbohydrates (sweetened beverages, sweet rolls or bread, sweetened cereals) is most likely least healthy than having no breakfast at all. The high sugar content of such processed meal might make our body to store more fat due to the high insulin levels developing. This might have a direct impact on a person being able to lose weight. Furthermore, a breakfast of more complex carbohydrates typically leaves us feeling full for longer. It seems more advisable to eat a protein-rich breakfast with oatmeal or quinoa porridge, yoghurt or some eggs.

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