Benefits of Breakfast May Be Exaggerated
Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
Is it really necessary to jump-start your fat-burning metabolism by eating something healthy first thing in the morning?
Will eating breakfast really help you lose weight—and keep it off?
Despite what we’ve long been told, the answer to all three questions appears to be “maybe.”
A New York Times article noted, “As with many other nutritional pieces of advice, our belief in the power of breakfast is based on misinterpreted research and biased studies.”
The Times piece concluded: “The bottom line is that the evidence for the importance of breakfast is something of a mess. If you’re hungry, eat it. But don’t feel bad if you’d rather skip it, and don’t listen to those who lecture you. Breakfast has no mystical powers.”
Here’s more news to chew on.
In a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. David B. Allison, former director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, cast some doubt on the long-held belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for the dieter.
Dr. Allison and his colleagues released their findings after examining 50 of the most popular studies concerning breakfast and weight loss.
They concluded that there was only one truly reliable study – one that randomly assigned two groups to a test or control and then measured the effect on body weight. In that study, each group followed diets that provided identical calories, but one group ate breakfast while the other did not.
The end result: Both groups ate the same amount of food, but they did so via different meal patterns – and the members of each test groups lost the same amount of weight. That finding appears to validate the belief that calories count more than the time of day they are consumed.
So, what about all the hardcore advocates for breakfast? Didn’t we all grow up learning that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
The best dieting advice appears to be that you should eat in a manner that’s most comfortable for you.
Many people confess to having no appetite first thing in the morning. Food is the last thing on their mind as they rush to get ready for their mad dash to work or school. If you’re not hungry after you rise, don’t stress.
But, be aware that skipping meals can set you up for failure if you tend to overcompensate later. Don’t tell yourself, “Hey, since I didn’t eat breakfast, I can eat more the rest of the day!” It’s easy to overdo it at lunch or dinner if you bypassed breakfast or brunch.
So, feel free to skip breakfast. Just be sure to plan for a healthy mid-morning or late afternoon snack.
John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.