I’m sure we have all been told at some point in our lives that ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!’ But is this really true?
In the fast pace of this modern world, it is fairly common for people to skip breakfast due to a lack of time, or as part of some weight management strategy. It is also fairly common for those people to subsequently find themselves eating more throughout the day.
There have been many studies that have tried to establish the importance of eating breakfast, the results of which may surprise you. The overall consensus is that breakfast really is important. There have been many findings that make the link between skipping breakfast and a range of metabolic problems as well as some unhealthy behavioural patterns.
Contrary to some peoples belief that skipping breakfast will help with their weight loss goals, Giovannini et al (2010) have found that in actual fact, over time skipping breakfast can result in weight gain. In addition to weight gain, skipping breakfast may also increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes and has been linked to a poorer quality of diet overall. Therefore making breakfast a regular part of your diet can reduce the risk of developing such diseases. Regular breakfast consumption has been shown to improve learning in children.
Other studies support the idea that breakfast can aide cognitive function. Keski-Rahkonen et al (2003) found that both adolescents and adults who skipped breakfast were more likely to have a lower level of education. More specifically, both adolescents and adults who skipped breakfast were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol, less likely to exercise, more likely to experience behavioural disinhibition as well as have a higher Body Mass Index.
If you are reading this and have adolescent children yourself, don’t panic! Keski-Rahkonen also found that adolescents were more likely to included breakfast in their regular routine if their parents do also. So if ever there was an incentive for you to eat breakfast, that’s it.
However, what are the best foods to eat at breakfast? Well, luckily this has also been the subject of many a study. In a recent study by Yoo et al (2014) it was found that dairy-cereal based breakfasts or high energy and fibre breakfasts are associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Whilst Cho et al (2000) suggest that eating cereals or quick breads (for example toast) for breakfast is associated with a significantly lower BMI when compared with either skipping breakfast completely or eating a meat and/or egg based breakfast.
So despite the fast paced nature of the modern lifestyle, it may be worth making the time for a healthy breakfast.