Skip the Bacon and Bagel: Research Suggests Breakfast Isn’t the Most Important Meal of the Day

Since childhood, you may have felt bullied to eat breakfast every morning. Your mom might have forbidden you to watch cartoons until you finished every mouthful of your breakfast. During the commercial breaks of those cartoons, you likely were hit with countless advertisements espousing the benefits of sugary, processed cereals.

As an adult, you might fear becoming “hangry” or light headed if you skip your daily bacon and bagel. After all, the media and those in the health community have pressured people into eating breakfast due to its health benefits for decades. But, hold onto your seat. Recent research suggests breakfast isn’t actually the most important meal of the day.

According to ABC News, the health benefits of breakfast have now been discredited by a new systematic review and meta-analysis off 11 randomized trials. These trials examined the effect of skipping breakfast on metabolic rate and weight.

The studies differ immensely in size and quality. Seven of them studied variations in both energy usage and weight. However, the conclusion was identical to recent reviews that have, for the most part, been ignored.

Apparently, no evidence exists to support the claim that avoiding breakfast causes you to gain weight or adversely lowers your resting metabolic rate.

At this point, you may be wondering how the medical field got it so wrong for so long. According to Healthline, one explanation “is the belief in ‘grazing’ rather than ‘gorging’ to avoid ‘stress’ on the body from having to digest large meals, especially later in the day when glucose and insulin peaks are higher and metabolic rate lower.”

However, this misguided rationale was based on only lab rodents and a small amount of short-term human studies. The notion of over-compensation later in the day was right. However, Healthline reported “it is not nearly enough to make up the energy deficit in a real-world setting outside a lab.”

Researchers were justly misled in the past by numerous observational probes suggesting that obese individuals skipped meals more often than people with normal weights. This misconception became enshrined in the nutritional canon. Healthline alleged these observational studies were “seriously biased.”

Breakfast abstainers were more probable, on average, to be less healthy, to be poorer, to be less educated, and to consume a poorer diet. Those who were overweight were more likely to diet. After binging, they were more prone to experience guilt. As a result, they were more likely to skip a meal.

In addition to obliterating obesity, another pro-breakfast talking point is that it is imperative for the attention span and mental well-being of kids. When independently reviewed, the evidence from more than 20 trials “is at best weak and inconsistent” according to Healthline. It’s also likely biased in the same manner as adults.

Now that you may be rethinking stocking up on cereal or waffles during your next supermarket run, get ready for another shocker. Skipping breakfast may not merely do no harm. It may actually be good for you.

According to recent research, shunning breakfast and engaging in other various types of fasting might help you control your weight and improve your health. Time-restricted eating, TRE, is a kind of intermittent fasting that forces you to consume your daily caloric intake within a shortened period of time.

Krista Varady, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago, recently coauthored a study that involved obese men and women consuming all of their food between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for three months.

Over the course of the study, participants consumed 341 fewer calories each day, decreased their systolic blood pressure, and lost three percent of their body weight.

Varady maintained that all types of fasting foster a process known as autophagy. During this process, worn-out cells are eliminated. This might decrease inflammation and improve your body’s functioning.

Varady explained that the results will likely be similar even if you shift the timeframe a bit. For instance, you might want to consume all of your calories every day from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. or 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

However, she did recommend not setting the parameters too late. Varady revealed that the food you eat causes more significant blood sugar spikes later in the day.

The takeaway from the latest research is that breakfast may not indeed be the most important meal of the day. If you skip it, you may even glean some benefits. In the end, you should do what makes you feel the best, whether that means eating in the morning or just saying no.


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