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Along with brushing your teeth and looking both ways before crossing the street, the importance of breakfast is said so often to kids it’s become almost gospel. But is breakfast truly the most important meal of the day? If you were to skip your instant oatmeal or bowl of cereal before rushing out into the world, will your day ultimately be a wash? Believe it or not, there have been studies, and the answer–though somewhat open to interpretation–is clear: Don’t believe the hype.

It’s good to eat early in the day, it will benefit your metabolism, but in terms of actual medical benefits… nope. Breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day.

Courtney Peterson talking why breakfast isn't the most important meal of the day.
Courtney Peterson weighs in on why it makes sense to eat more food earlier in the day.

Two Sides of the Story on the Importance of Breakfast

There are always two sides to this story. On the one hand, there’s author Tim Spector and professor Dr. Flavia M. Cicuttini, who state that there is no sufficient data that definitively show that skipping breakfast, specifically, is a cause of cardiovascular disease.

Cicuttini, a professor of Clinical Epidemiology at Monash University, looked at 13 studies on the connection between a person’s energy, weight, and breakfast. Apparently, those who ate breakfast regularly consumed about 260 calories more in a day compared to people who regularly missed it, and thus, gained a pound more. This tells us that diets that include breakfast probably aren’t optimal for weight loss.

On the other hand, numerous studies have yielded results that back up the claim that eating breakfast can help one manage or lose weight. However, guess who commissioned these studies? Yeah. Cereal companies. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that these studies are entirely false, it gives a valid reason to be leery toward them.

a photo quote of Tim Spector in relation to the discussion on the importance of breakfast and why breakfast isn't the most important meal of the day
Tim Spector shares his two cents on the matter of the importance of breakfast.

An Industry of Lies! Breakfast Isn’t The Most Important Meal of The Day

If you’re a company whose fortunes lie within that first meal of the day, well, of course you have reason to create a false narrative. And Kellogg Company and Quaker Oats have gone above and beyond in funding studies that support that belief and investing in commercials to market it to the masses. However, people now are digesting—pun intended—all the facts that are available and laid in front of them.

And the facts point to breakfast not necessarily being crucial for survival. In fact, it’s not even that good for weight loss. As Kaori O’Connor, author of “The Never-Ending Feast: The Anthropology and Archaeology of Feasting” said, “Let’s not trash the benefits of breakfast altogether, but it’s safe to say that the idea that it is healthy in its own right as laid on a plate for us by marketing companies. And, by and large, we’ve gobbled it up.”

Still, it’s hard to imagine any amount of shift in public sentiment adversely affecting the consumption of Fruit Loops, Cheerios, eggs and bacon that much. After all, the importance of breakfast may have been over-hyped, but the fact remains that it’s usually delicious.

On the Heart of the Matter: Most Important Meal of the Day

It doesn’t help prevent heart attacks. It doesn’t decrease the probability of a stroke. Eating a bowl of Wheaties doesn’t really do much beyond providing vitamins, minerals, and the necessary calories to keep you from falling asleep while you drive to work (which, actually, is a pretty nice net positive in its own right). Yes, breakfast is delicious and good for keeping you from starving to death before lunch. But when all is said and done, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day.

Now go out and eat some Pop-Tarts.

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