Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

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Since we were children, the idea that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ has been (quite literally) shoved down our throats. From our parents to teachers, to scientists and work colleagues, going a day without breakfast has often led to scathing remarks. But is it really the most important meal of the day? Well, science isn’t so sure.

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Pro: the kids

One of the main things we were taught at school was that we had to eat breakfast before our school day started. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to concentrate or get any work done. And there is some science behind this. Many studies have found that children who ate breakfast first thing in the morning did have an increased cognitive performance during their school day – especially in those students who were under the age of 18.

Pro: your health

Eating breakfast every day also has some health benefits. In one scientific study, eating breakfast significantly lowered participants’ chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. But it doesn’t stop there. In a research paper published in 2013, researchers found that eating breakfast was also linked to lowered risk of other diseases, such as heart disease in men.

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Con: your metabolism

One of the myths surrounding breakfast is that it speeds up your metabolism, leading to weight loss. However, there is no science to back this up. In fact, one study with the University of Bath monitored those who ate breakfast and those who didn’t and found absolutely no difference in the rate of their metabolism.

Con: personal choice and habit

Many researchers have concluded that your decision to eat or not eat breakfast is entirely yours. For some people, eating as soon as they wake up makes them feel physically sick – so it would be wise not to force it on them. For others who eat later in the evening, they may not be hungry in the morning for any food or breakfast. On the other hand, if you wake up hungry, scientists would always recommend having something to eat – just as you would at lunchtime or in the evening, as this is your body saying that it needs food.

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Con: the grey area

One of the biggest gray areas when it comes to the breakfast debate is what constitutes as breakfast. Is it just a piece of fruit? Bacon and eggs? Pancakes? Pizza? This causes problems when it comes to deciding whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day. How can we eat breakfast when we’re not even sure what it is and whether we should be eating more or less?

The conclusion:

The answer is: Maybe! If you want to eat breakfast, eat breakfast. If you don’t, don’t. There is not enough scientific evidence to either prove or disprove whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is all down to personal choice, and what your eating habits are for the other meals of the day. If you tend to have a large, late evening meal then you probably don’t need much breakfast. If you aren’t as hungry later on in the day and crave food when you wake up, then breakfast is important for you. Just like with a lot of things, everyone’s different.

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