Is Breakfast Really So Important?
Have you ever heard someone say, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day", or give you advice about why it's vital to start the day with a healthy breakfast? It seems that this feast, for many of us, is necessary for our day to start well, but is it really that important?
The word 'breakfast' comes from 'breaking the fast'- the idea of ending the period in which we didn't eat during the night. The regeneration process that takes place while we sleep consumes some of our natural food reserves to heal our bodies. Breakfast gives us an opportunity to replenish those depleted stores of things like protein and calcium. So, in that way, a healthy breakfast makes sense.
There are also many often-quoted studies which seem to correlate a state of obesity with skipping breakfast. In fact, it leads many health experts to advise a healthy breakfast to not only regulate but also lose weight. In a US study, 50,000 people were monitored over seven years, and those who ate a healthy breakfast were found to have a lower BMI, which seems to suggest that breakfast may indeed help people maintain a healthy weight.
But it might not be as simple as that. Some experts, like Alexandra Johnstone, professor of appetite research at the University of Aberdeen, suggest those who skip breakfast might be less aware of healthy diets and nutrition, and people who eat breakfast might have a healthier lifestyle overall - exercising and not smoking, for example. And with the rise in popularity of intermittent fasting to lose weight- there may also be some benefits to skipping breakfast. Intermittent fasting can improve blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and lower blood pressure.
So, while breakfast has its benefits, it might not be the most important meal. It seems that a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet might be more important for many of us than just one single meal.