Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Many of us skip breakfast to sleep-in, or because we do not feel hungry early in the morning. Passing on breakfast also seems like a harmless way to remove calories from your diet, so it must be a good weight-loss technique, right? What has been found through research, however, is that the habit of breakfast skipping is not only ineffective to lose weight, it may actually be counterproductive and lead to weight gain. Further, it can also be detrimental to your nutrient supply and energy level for the day ahead.

After fasting during a night of sleep, your body needs a steady supply of glucose to fuel the brain for upcoming activities. Are you a student? If so, pay close attention. According to research, breakfast can boost awareness and academic performance.  Not only does performance suffer when we skip breakfast, but so do our diets and quite possibly our overall health. Research also supports the notion that people who do not eat breakfast on a regular basis exhibit more unhealthy eating habits than their breakfast-eating counterparts. One example is that non-breakfast eaters are likely to consume more calories from high sugar and high fat foods over the course of the day to compensate for reduced energy levels and satiety. Further, there is evidence that skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of overweight, obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes.

Does it matter what kind of breakfast you eat? Absolutely; for example, breakfasts high in fiber will satisfy you for longer periods of time; whereas, sugary cereals or breakfast pastries result in blood sugar levels acting like a rollercoaster, which will negatively impact your energy levels and your sensation of hunger and satiety. In addition to providing sources of fiber, an ideal breakfast provides a large variety of nutrients. These nutrients can be obtained from whole grains, fruits, dairy, and lean proteins. Examples of a “healthy” breakfasts are: banana slices and peanut butter spread onto a slice of whole wheat toast, yogurt with berries and granola, or one egg and one slice of cheese melted onto a whole wheat English muffin with a side of fruit.