Sci&Tech Writer Yankie Chow explores the breakfast myth, concluding that whether or not to eat breakfast could really just be a personal choice
People often say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we should not skip it, regardless of how rushed our morning is, how we do not always have enough time for it, or are too tired to even bother. For years, nutrition experts have proposed that a healthy breakfast is the key start to the day and helps boost our effectiveness at work and there is indeed evidence that breakfast is important. It helps to replenish nutrients and energy, giving a fresh start to our day.
Yet although the majority of people know about the importance of breakfast, a quarter of adults skip breakfast more than half the week. This could be because they don’t have time or food already stocked on their shelves. It might seem like skipping breakfast would not affect our daily lives too much – having breakfast is just a personal decision and it depends simply on how you feel that morning.
According to a study from the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who skip breakfast are more likely to become obese than those who regularly eat breakfast. There is also evidence in a systematic review that people having breakfast are less likely to develop illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. The reason behind this was that people who chose to skip breakfast were missing the essential nutrients they needed throughout the day, and did not fuel up adequately. People who skip breakfast fall short of vitamins and calcium, which also results in rising blood glucose levels. They could lead to impaired metabolic flexibility, as the body has to break down stored fat reserves for energy. This affects the sensitivity of insulin, as skipping meals for a long time could lead to impaired glucose homeostasis.
Yet, there is some research indicating that breakfast isn’t the most important meal. Some people just don’t feel hungry in the morning, which is normal – everyone has different dietary habits. There are in fact some advantages to skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast could help to reduce daily calorie intake, meaning that skipping breakfast is one of the ways to help lose weight easily. It burns the fat stored in their body for energy, which helps to lose weight and allows for a safe ketogenic state to be achieved.
Overall, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The importance of breakfast mostly depends on one’s individual lifestyle, mood, and a consistent habit and routine every day. The people who mostly stick with having a nutritious breakfast to maintain their long-term health will probably stick to their original morning breakfast, while those who skipped breakfast could continue with their old routine.
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