Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
No scientific study has truly had conclusive results
Everyone's heard it and most everyone believes it, but is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Maybe not for everyone. It might depend on your diet and habits.
Scientific research has found that there is some correlation between eating breakfast and better weight management. So, the common belief is that if you don't eat breakfast, you're at risk for gaining weight and becoming obese. However, no scientific study has proven a causal link between skipping breakfast and gaining weight. The research has only shown a correlation between the two. Meaning, there is some connection between breakfast and weight management, but scientists are unsure of what exactly that link might be.
Well, it's better to be safe than sorry, right? The people who eat breakfast regularly often are at a more healthy weight, so what's the harm in making it part of your routine? It's true there is no harm in eating breakfast every day. But listening to half-formed hypotheses over your own body isn't always a good idea.
Some people, like this New York Times columnist, usually doesn't get hungry until lunch time each day. As a result, he almost never eats breakfast. According to conventional wisdom, he would be sacrificing his health by skipping breakfast. But he finds himself to be no less healthy than his breakfast eating counterparts.
In fact, many of the studies that have found that skipping breakfast causes weight gain and other unhealthy side effects have been funded by Kellogg's or other big cereal and breakfast food makers. These entities have an obvious bias in favor of proving that breakfast is good for your health.
None of this means there isn't actually a relationship between eating breakfast and good health. We just don't have the solid scientific research to back up this statement.
So, in the mean time, use your common sense. If you're not hungry in the morning, don't force yourself to eat. And if you do eat breakfast, try to make it reasonably healthy. Eating sugar-filled cereal every morning might have a bigger negative impact on your health than just skipping breakfast altogether. If you have to eat breakfast on the go, take a piece of fruit or a balanced breakfast bar.
And when new studies come out about the health benefits of breakfast, examine them with a small dose of skepticism. No one single study will be able to scientifically prove the benefits of breakfast. We still may be years away from finding hard evidence across several different studies.