Your Mom Lied: Why Breakfast Isn't The Most Important Meal Of The Day


For a solid, I don’t know, three years straight, I’ve set my alarm an extra 45 minutes early – just to make breakfast.

Most of the time, I spent the better portion of those 45 minutes hitting the snooze button before succumbing to some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which I slurped up out of a plastic cup on my way to work.

Sometimes I opted for oatmeal instead because nothing screams “I’m progressing toward my mid-life crisis with a head full of steam,” quite like a nice big, cardboard-flavored bowl of steel cut oats.

If I were feeling really ambitious, I’d even grab a pan and attempt to chef-up an omelette solely made of egg whites (the non-tasty part of said egg) for extra nutrition.

Why do I do this? It’s a rather curious development. Given the amount of effort I expend each morning on breakfast, you'd think I wake up with the appetite of a thousand Paleo diets, but the reality of the situation is, I don’t.

I generally wake up with no appetite. Even so, all my life, I was told “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and without it, success would more or less become something of a pipe dream. I’m sure you’ve all heard something similar, too.

So you best believe my alarm has always been set 45 minutes early, regardless of appetite or laziness. As it turns out, however, we’ve been all been somewhat misinformed about the true nature of breakfast’s value.

If you’re not a morning person, or a breakfast person at all, and you feel as though you force yourself through the motions in an effort to meet some “nutritional requirement,” the extra work might be for naught.

While there's a great deal of “common knowledge” suggesting the vitality of breakfast, it might not be worth all the extra hassle, due to more recent studies done on the matter.

Using a variety of different case reports and experimental studies, research out of the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center offers up the other side of the story.

Eating breakfast won't help you lose weight.

Despite certain observational studies that linked breakfast-eaters with lower body weights, new research has emerged refuting the clichéd connection. A 2014 study divided 309 obese (but otherwise healthy) test subjects into two randomly assigned groups – one group that ate breakfast, and a second group that was instructed not to.

After 16 weeks of following instruction, there was no difference in weight loss between the group that did eat breakfast and the group that didn’t. So if you’re making extra time in the morning, or force-feeding yourself when you’re not hungry, consider skipping it free of consequence.

Breakfast doesn’t affect your metabolism.

There’s an old wives' tale that asserts eating breakfast boosts your metabolism, but according to this study, there’s a scientific reason to skip the eggs and toast.

In a recent Time article, Alexandra Sifferlin presented a case conducted by Betts, et al., disproving any substantial link between breakfast and metabolism control. And a separate study done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggested that skipping breakfast won’t impede on any weight loss efforts.

While there is robust scientific support of some link, however small, between breakfast and metabolic benefits, this new research is eye-opening.

Skipping breakfast will allow for intermittent fasting.

Dr. Mercola stresses the importance of what he calls “intermittent fasting,” and its great health benefits. Intermittent fasting essentially refers to a period where you hold back from eating and allow the body to enter a “more efficient fat-burning phase.”

For what it’s worth, Dr. Mercola suggests making lunch your first meal of the day, allowing the period of time from when you wake up to when you eat lunch to be your period for intermittent fasting each day.

So if you’re usually rushing each morning ,and breakfast is seen as more of a chore than a dire need, it could be interesting to pass on breakfast for a few weeks to see the results.

Intermittent fasting will aid your blood sugar levels.

According to DETAILS magazine, intermittent fasting also lowers insulin levels. By avoiding any food intake in the morning before lunchtime, you can “increase your insulin sensitivity for better blood sugar management.”

Also, as your insulin levels drop, your body will also produce increased levels of a growth hormone that helps build lean muscle -- that's why Dr. Mercola recommends the implementation of physical exertion (exercise) during periods of intermittent fashion.

According to Mercola, this is the optimal method of burning fat.