The idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is pretty much universal in the UK and the US. But how accurate is this belief? In this article we will examine whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day or not.
The Insane Origins of Your Morning Cornflakes
You would probably not be surprised to hear that breakfast cereal is fairly modern. No Roman soldier was sitting down to a bowl of Weetabix, nor were there Coco Pops during the reign of King Henry VIII. Sure, people ate a meal to “break their fast” after waking, but that meal could be anything.
You still see this in some cultures today. In Bangladesh, for example, you are more likely to be given a curry than you are a bowl of Shreddies.
Breakfast has been historically based around what is easy to eat first thing in the morning. According to this article in the Guardian [1], eggs were commonly consumed in the morning because that is when chickens laid them.
Breakfast cereal was invented by James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg, two Seventh Day Adventists. They did so as they believed that following a vegetarian diet and eating bland foods would help to treat unhealthy lifestyles.
They were sort of right. They also believed that cornflakes would reduce the urge to masturbate. Amazingly, cornflakes became extremely popular, and breakfast cereals were born.
Still, breakfast was not seen as particularly important. That all changed when Edward Bernays wanted to shift his bacon. Not only did he reinvent bacon as a breakfast food, but he also began to promote breakfast as the most important meal of the day.
This genius marketing trick still works to this day, with many people convinced that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?
Breakfast is one of the most commonly skipped meals of the day. In countries such as Greece, more people skip breakfast than eat it. Nobody skips their evening meal though, which is where you also get most of your protein. So really, your evening meal is probably the most important meal of the day.
The idea that skipping breakfast can lead to you consuming more calories during the day has been disproved several times. People who skip breakfast tend to weigh less than people who consume breakfast [2].
If you have been skipping breakfast for the last ten years and all of a sudden started eating it, you should not expect to lose weight. Unless the act of having breakfast can help you to avoid high-calorie snacks during the day.
Reasons to Eat Breakfast
Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day, and there are no downsides to skipping it. But there are many reasons to eat breakfast, and here are some of them:
  1. Increased Protein – Most people get the majority of their protein through their evening meal. But studies have shown that spreading your protein out amongst three meals is actually more effective for protein synthesis [3].
  2. Easier to Get Your 5 Per Day – Adding a third meal to your day will make it easier to increase the number of fruits and vegetables you consume. You could get creative and add vegetables to an omelette, or just do something as simple as cutting a banana and adding it to your cereal.
  3. Improve your Morning Workouts – While it is of course possible to exercise while in a fasted state, you will always see better results if you are exercising after you have had your morning meal. This can be something as simple as a protein bar and a piece of fruit, or something a little more calorific.
  4. Cut Down on Snacking – Many people who skip breakfast do find themselves snacking more during the day. Particularly if they need to take a late lunch. These snacks are generally high in calories and low in nutrients. Eating a good breakfast may help you to cut down on snacking.
How to Fit Breakfast into a Busy Schedule
One of the most common reasons why people skip breakfast is a lack of time. However, this issue can be fixed by using the following tricks.
  • Consume an amazingly simple breakfast – As we mentioned earlier, a protein bar and a piece of fruit can be considered a good breakfast. It is high in protein, has some vitamins and minerals, and will also be high in fibre, which can keep hunger at bay. This breakfast takes no time to make.
  • Prepare your Breakfast Before Bed – Many breakfast meals can be made the night before, or at least prepped. You can break the eggs and stir them if you want to make scrambled eggs. You can make overnight oats. Setting out a bowl and spoon out on the table can also save you time in the morning.
Final Thoughts on Breakfast
At the end of the day, what matters is your overall calorie intake and your overall calorie expenditure. Get this right, and you can do it in as many or as few meals as you want. Hitting your protein and fibre goals is also important.
But having breakfast has many advantages and it is well worth considering. Many people state that breakfast is their favourite meal of the day, and it could be yours too!
References
[1] https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/nov/28/breakfast-health-america-kellog-food-lifestyle
[2] https://www.insider.com/skipping-breakfast-linked-to-weight-loss-new-study-2019-1
[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2014/07/15/balancing-daily-protein-intake-across-meals-increases-muscle-protein-synthesis/#33933a2d6974

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