Old Wives’ Tale: Breakfast is King

If you are one of those people who was raised to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, raise your right hand.

Well, well, well, you and me both. We have all heard this way too many times in this lifetime. From our parents who insist we grab a bite before heading to school to our gym instructor who promised that eating a big breakfast will lessen our carb intake on the latter part of the day. Everyone who has led us to the trap that no one should skip breaking fast because it helps to manage weight loss better. But is that the case?

Breakfast: No Exceptions?

Should everyone eat breakfast? According to everyone, yes. Interestingly, it has been proven a couple of times that if there is one group of people that should treat breakfast as a vital meal, it’s the athletes and those who love a great morning work-out. They are the ones whose activities require an incredibly demanding physical effort and building up energy from food is precisely what they need.

But if you are not hungry and your morning activity is just made up of commuting to the office, then do not feel obliged at all to stuff that food in your mouth. Activities which require very minimal effort will not help burn the calories you might have consumed in the morning anyway, so yes, you may stop with the guilt trap that is the “no one should skip breakfast” culture.

Weight Loss Magic

Most health buffs would probably tell you that the adage “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper,” is the best fitness crusade. Since you have the whole day to burn all your calories, eating up a plate or two in the morning won’t make you gain weight. But then again, more and more studies published recently prove otherwise. As a matter of fact, an experimental study involving 300 participants was conducted to see if breakfast is in fact, a weight loss moniker. These people were grouped into two: breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers and they were observed. The first group were given full discretion on whatever they want to have in the morning and were not required to tell the researchers what it was for the entire duration of the study.

In the end, no significant difference was established. What is more surprising is the fact that both groups lost weight in the process. Sounds like good news for those who are trying to lose weight but are repulsed by eating in the morning, right? So let’s just put it this way: when you eat your meals is not as important as what you put in your body. Moreover, it has also been suggested by researchers that it is up to you to decide how often you would like to have your meals. The right frequency combined with the right food is what makes weight loss more ideal — true story!

Eating Less Later

While it makes sense that skipping breakfast makes you hungrier, there is also evidence that proves it does not automatically translate to eating more calories than those who ate breakfast. If you wake up in the morning and you feel like munching on some healthy breakfast, then by all means, do so. But if you still think that breakfast can wash off your hunger for the day, then you might just want to ingest a protein-packed meal. Protein allows your body to grow a hormone that fights hunger. Makes more sense, right? So how about just a little shift of perspective here — instead of sticking to the belief that breakfast reduces hunger for the day, how about pumping up your meal with protein?

Where Did Breakfast Go Wrong?

A meta-analysis conducted by researchers for a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed the truth about the connection between breakfast and body weight and it appears that the link is “only presumed true.” What does this mean? Just think of it as a belief that has been passed on from generation to generation until it has become a cultural belief. This shared belief has turned us blind to the facts that prove this assumption wrong. So does that mean that nutritionists are wrong? Well, according to the results of the study, that might just be the case.

What is more interesting is the fact that it is not just us, regular people, who have become too committed to this shared belief. The abovementioned research also revealed that after thoroughly investigating previously published studies, some researchers have become unintentionally biased in the interpretation of the results of their work and the works they cited — affirming that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The result? Generations of people stuck to this false credence.

But let’s make something clear. Just because the reality behind the “breakfast is king” mask is unveiled does not mean that it’s completely unnecessary. If you are eating in the morning because you want to boost your energy or improve your focus, then go on, have that meal. But then again, maybe it’s high time you break the stigma that it is the most important meal of the day or that you should never skip it, or that it helps you lose weight — it is not, and it doesn’t!

About Macey S. Saavedra

Macey is a wife and a mom who is at the learning curve of juggling parenthood and her professional career. Along with the challenges of raising a daughter, she currently works as a Marketing Executive in the Philippines and holds a Master's Degree in Communication. She loves reading, watching films, and is a huge fan of author Haruki Murakami. Through writing, Macey aspires to create and disseminate relevant content that will help shape a well-informed society.

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