by Brandy Abalos
Is it true that breakfast is “the most important meal of the day? “While breakfast provides many benefits, experts agree that a single meal isn’t more important than any other. It is most important to eat balanced meals throughout the day.
Who Says Breakfast Is Important?
The adage “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” dates back to the 1960s when American nutritionists began targeting the inadequate amount of food many people consumed. One nutritionist, Adelle Davis, famously said you should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Nutritionists have evaluated this sentiment for decades.
Breakfast Eaters vs. Breakfast Skipper
There are two types of people: those who wake up hungry and those who prefer to wait for their first solid food. Breakfast is essential for those who wake up with their bellies growling to start their day on a good foot.
However, some people can’t stomach a heavy meal in the morning. They might opt for a protein shake or small snack instead of a full meal to break their overnight fast. In reality, almost ¼ of Americans report that they skip breakfast. In most cases, they carryon with their day just fine.
How Breakfast Impacts Our Health
A balanced breakfast can help a person start their day on a good foot. It’s essential to focus on balance in the morning as much as at other times throughout the day. A balanced breakfast should include fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains and lean protein. Breakfast gives the body a necessary energy boost when a person hasn’t eaten in several hours. It can also help balance blood sugar levels. People who prefer not to eat a heavy breakfast should consider a light meal such as an apple and peanut butter.
Some nutrition experts claim that eating breakfast can also kick-start the metabolism in the morning. While research has mixed conclusions, there may be some truth to this. A small-scale 2015study published in the International Journal of Obesity indicated that a morning meal can increase metabolic rate. However, a much larger 2021 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism revealed more research is necessary before confirming that breakfast is essential to metabolism.
Children Should Always Eat Breakfast
While adults can choose whether to eat breakfast, children should be encouraged to eat the first meal of the day every day. A University of Leeds study in 2019 found that children who skipped breakfast consistently got lower test scores than those who ate breakfast before school. Other research supports this finding as well. Overall, children who eat breakfast have improved cognitive function, memory and attention. There is also evidence that children who eat a balanced morning meal have increased abilities to solve mathematical problems and handle complex mental tasks. They receive better scores on vocabulary tests as well.
Children also tend to show lower levels of frustration when they eat breakfast. This benefit may be associated with balanced blood sugar levels. When a child experiences hypoglycemic episodes of low blood sugar, they can be cranky and have difficulty regulating their moods.
Breakfast is Not for Everyone
There is no correct answer regarding whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, for many people, it can have benefits. Those who need that morning boost should leave plenty of time to get a balanced breakfast. People who prefer not to have breakfast should still try to eat something small. In either case, it is vital to be consistent.
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