Breakfast, The Most Important Meal?
Find out if breakfast is really important from Amy!
Breakfast, is it the most important meal of the day?
Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, but is it really? We cover some of the most common questions around breakfast eating to help you decide!
Do you need breakfast to kickstart metabolism?
Breakfast will not necessarily kick start metabolism and lead to fat loss. Eating more energy from food to burn more energy for fat loss will always be counter intuitive. Therefore, breakfast isn’t a magic bullet to fat loss. However, research repeatedly shows that those that eat breakfast tend to be leaner individuals (1). This could be for a multitude of reasons including, the individual is more health conscious, there is less night time snacking and better appetite management throughout the day etc. Breakfast may not alter metabolism but if it helps you to adhere to a healthy, nutritious way of eating, it may well help in weight management!
Breakfast = 1 point.
Does skipping breakfast affect energy levels?
Breakfast may actually have an impact on energy output. Research shows that breakfast eaters hold onto more muscle mass and actually spontaneously move more than those who don’t eat breakfast. This means that breakfast eaters burn more calories. The added energy in the morning seems to support a more active lifestyle and better body composition without the breakfast eater necessarily trying or being aware of it. Further research shows increased exercise performance, even in evening workouts, in those that started the day with breakfast (2).
Breakfast = 2 points.
Is breakfast important to balance blood sugar?
You can actually clear sugar from the blood faster in the morning compared to the evening. This is because insulin hormones are more efficient at doing their job (shuttling sugar to body cells that need energy) in the earlier part of the day (3). This means that generally you will have more stable blood sugar after a high carbohydrate meal in the morning, compared to the same meal eaten in the evening. It has also has been found in those that skip breakfast, blood sugar levels are higher and remain higher for longer after eating lunch (4). Therefore, blood sugar regulation is better in those that eat breakfast.
Breakfast = 3 points.
Does skipping breakfast make you overeat later?
It seems that breakfast skippers do eat more in their next meal, but are not necessarily overeating. This means that they are usually not overcompensating beyond the overall energy that would have been in their breakfast, had they eaten it. However, research also shows that breakfast eaters tend to be leaner. So, whilst people don’t necessarily end up overeating in their next meal after skipping breakfast, they may end up eating more in general across the day due to poor eating habits. This is of course subject to the individual. Some people will reduce overall food intake by skipping breakfast and some people will end up eating more if they are not mindful.
Breakfast = 1. No breakfast = 1.
Let's Sum It Up!
Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, and it turns out eating breakfast actually has a bunch of benefits! Breakfast eaters are generally leaner, have more muscle mass, have higher activity levels and better blood sugar regulation. This doesn’t mean that breakfast is THE most important meal or that you have to eat it. However, we conclude it’s probably a great idea to if these are your goals!
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- The Big Breakfast Study: Chrono‐nutrition influence on energy expenditure and bodyweight (nih.gov)
- Effect of Breakfast Omission on Energy Intake and Evening Exercise Performance - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Diurnal Variation in Glucose Tolerance: Associated Changes in Plasma Insulin, Growth Hormone, and Non-esterified (nih.gov)
- The second-meal phenomenon is associated with enhanced muscle glycogen storage in humans - PubMed (nih.gov)