Breakfast might not actually be that important

We have always been told that the most important meal of the day is breakfast and I remember my mother

We have always been told that the most important meal of the day is breakfast and I remember my mother always yelling at me if I tried to skip it. But, experts are now claiming that there is little clinical evidence to justify the ‘good’ reputation breakfast has.

A senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Bath, James Betts, disagrees that “eating breakfast like a king” is a good way to kickstart your metabolism for the day.

“The problem is that these benefits, although logical sounding, are largely ­assumptions based on observational studies and had never actually been tested,” Betts reveals in New Scientist magazine. “I was amazed when I started looking for evidence; I thought there would be a lot.”

Doctors have encouraged people, for a long time, to consume a third of their daily calories in the morning in order to lose weight, but this is now being refuted.

The Australian reports that John Harvey Kellogg introduced the notion of a health breakfast in order to sell more cereal, but since then hundreds of papers and research have claiming that skipping breakfast encourages unhealthy eating.

However, Betts says these studies are largely observational and conducted his own study to determine the likelihood of healthy eating during the day based on breakfast choices.

The Australian reports that he asked one group of participants to eat a 700 calorie breakfast, while the other group consumed only water until lunch.

The group who skipped breakfast did eat more at lunch, but not enough to make up the 700 calories the others ate at breakfast. In addition, hormone tests revealed similar levels of hunger in both groups leading up to lunch, but those who had eaten breakfast were actually hungrier by mid-afternoon.

“As soon as a doctor finds out that an overweight patient skips breakfast they’ll often tell them to make sure they eat it every day,” Betts says. “But should we not know more about the health ­effects? We try not to give other health advice without evidence, so why are we more lax with breakfast?”

Peter Rogers is a psychology professor who specialises in nutrition and behaviour at the University of Bristol and he says, “Most of us could do with eating less. Given that it’s probably the easiest meal to skip, maybe skipping breakfast ­occasionally could be that ­opportunity.”

Do you eat breakfast?

  1. Linda Bee  

    I’m not hungry in the morning but eat breakfast because your supposed to ‘break the fast.’ Once I start eating, I’m hungry the rest of the day. If I skipped breakfast, I could skip lunch too and just eat once a day but have read that’s unhealthy. I can’t win!

    • Cheryl  

      I’m the same, hardly eat all day and have just dinner, it’s good way to eliminate calories too!

  2. Kylie  

    Breakfast is the one meal I have to have.. only veggie toast and coffee but I cant start my day without it.. lunch and dinner arent that important to me.

  3. John Bruce Norman  

    I f I don’t have my oats..pumpkin seeds..brazil nuts…almonds…hazel nuts…linseed…goji berries…sunflower seeds…walnuts…bananas…strawberries…blackberries….cranberries…mushed in with my porridge…I don’t feel alive…no that’s my cuppa Bell tea first thing..
    I’m buggered if I can put on weight..been a string bean all my life….I’m the joke of my “extremely expanded ” friends…who keep telling me ..and my wife…that she doesn’t feed me enough…even ask me if I am undergoing chemo..cos they reckon it’s not normal that I don’t look like them….fat ..that is.
    So sick of the barbs..when I reply with…”well least I don’t look as though I’ve been blown up with a bicycle pump.”
    That usually stops the banter..then the gasps of shock …horror to say such a thing..
    I mean it’s o.k. for them to leer at me .
    But as my doctor tells me..”Mate ..the buggers are jealous.”
    He says I’m the fittest 99 year old..he has ever come across.
    Maybe I should quit..boxing ..weight lifting..running marathons…volunteering to hand dig graves..the missus reckons
    that..after a spat..that I should dig one for myself..jump her ..and she’ll fill me in.
    Nah..think i’ll stop breakfast…and get fat….like my friends.

  4. For the last 20 years I have been skipping breakfast as part of a regimen to manage inflammation in my joints.
    The reasoning behind this regimen – from a paper published in a British Medical Journal – is that fasting for 18 hrs a day caused the body to produce it’s own cortico steroids to knock down the inflammation. The body would also produce growth hormone (needed for body repair) and also strengthened the immune system. I don’t feel hungry nor suffer any symptoms despite the fact that I have Type 2 diabetes. Needless to say, I have kept up this regimen since my symptoms disappeared after the first few weeks. I have passed this information to many of my friends who have benefited from it. It is good to hear that recent research is now backing this practice – if only in confirming that one does not need to have breakfast to remain healthy.

  5. Maree-Rose  

    When I was still at home, my Mother used to prepare a small breakfast for me, like a little piece of grilled steak & tomato, & a hot ‘cuppa’.

    Once I married, was still working full time, I didn’t eat breakfast, no time. This has gone on for many decades, currently still. During that time, I’ve only eaten Breakfast if staying at an Hotel, or on-board an aircraft, as at those times, I’m totally relaxed!

    It became a situation that I couldn’t eat before 11:00-11:30. It made me sick, if I had food beforehand, except as explained above.

    I did enjoy a good lunch, & dinner, though.

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