Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?
Recently, an article in Forbes magazine highlighted a study in Australia that claimed, when it came to weight loss, there was no significant difference in people assigned to skip breakfast and those assigned to eat it.
Some in the intermittent fasting community say you should not eat anything before 11AM, so your eating cycle can go on later in the day and make you less likely to break the fast before bedtime. While these assertions may be true, there are some good reasons to eat breakfast.
There are studies that show those who eat earlier in the day lose more weight than those who eat later in the day or skipped a meal. For most of us, fueling regularly is important to avoid bingeing or eating things that are not as healthy for us.
One very important longitudinal study, the National Weight Control Registry, has tracked those who have successfully lost 30 pounds or more. There are over 10,000 participants in the registry and the research team has identified breakfast as a common denominator that predicts successful weight loss and maintenance. Seventy-eight per cent of those who lost weight and kept it off ate breakfast every day.
We’ve all heard the adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” The Harvard Health Letter agrees, saying “the timing and the contents of breakfast make it perhaps the most important meal of the day.” Breakfast helps us ‘break the fast’ that we experience during sleep and gives us energy and nutrients to start the day. Blood sugar we need to power our muscles and brains is low when we wake up and breakfast helps replenish it. Missing a meal means we start tapping our reserves, including the glucose in our muscle, making us tired, increasing temptation and the likelihood we will overeat in general.
The bottom line is this: no two people are alike and, therefore, no food plan is one-size-fits-all. If you are intermittently fasting, find the timeframe that works for you. If you are a breakfast eater, rejoice in your habit! Studies show that breakfast eaters are generally leaner than non-breakfast eaters.
Remember that your eating habits alone do not predict your success at losing and maintaining weight. Other success factors identified by the National Weight Control Registry include weighing at least once a week; exercising at least one hour per day; and watching less than 10 hours of television per week.
To read more about the conversation regarding breakfast, check out this Q&A on WebMD.com.