It’s the age old adage…breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it really? It’s been stated by healthcare professionals for decades that people who eat breakfast weigh less than those that do not. But where did this idea come from? Most of these recommendations are only from observational studies, not from scientific data. It was believed that skipping breakfast lead to overconsumption later in the day. However, there have recently been more studies done on the validity of these statements. So I took a look at a recent systematic review of randomized control studies comparing breakfast consumption and no breakfast consumption on weight and energy intake. Let’s dive in!
Seven studies looked at eating breakfast and weight change. Results in these studies showed a small difference in weight between the two groups, but that difference actually favored the participants who did not eat breakfast! Energy intakes (or daily caloric intake) were looked at in ten studies. In nine of these studies, participants who ate breakfast had a larger total daily caloric intake than did those who skipped breakfast. This result debunks the idea that people will overcompensate later in the day if they skip breakfast.
The systematic review concluded that RCTs found no evidence to support the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that breakfast consumption will promote weight-loss, or that skipping breakfast will cause weight gain. In fact, it was shown that eating breakfast results in higher daily caloric intake.
So I think it is time to rethink the decade old statement on the importance of breakfast. New evidence shows that it is not necessary to maintain a healthy weight. I am not saying; however, that everyone should skip breakfast! If you are hungry in the morning, eat! If you need breakfast in order to concentrate or think clearly at work or school in the morning, eat! But if you wake up and are not hungry and have to force feed yourself oatmeal and egg whites because you were told you haveto eat breakfast…you’re in luck! You don’t have to! Eat when you are hungry and when your body tells you to!