Many people in the Rochester, NY area struggle to find time in the morning to eat breakfast. Either they opt for a quick breakfast option or skip the meal entirely. You may have grown up hearing the old expression that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Is there any truth to the old adage? Let’s dive into the history of that famous phrase, what the science says about breakfast skippers, and if the meal is as important as people believe.

Breakfast cereals were first being developed in the late 1800s. Historically, farmers ate their largest meal at the end of the day, a time most convenient for them. A new company at the time, Kellogg, began marketing to farmers suggesting they should eat more calories in the morning. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” started as a marketing campaign to those farmers to sell more breakfast cereals. The plan worked so well that other products, like the bacon and eggs industries, started to join the push for more breakfast. Today the same phrase is used by large corporations to sell quick and highly processed breakfast options.

There are many studies that do show benefits to eating a healthy breakfast every day. The research says that breakfast eaters have lower cholesterol, lower risk of heart disease, and lower risk of diabetes. It is important to note that these studies selected breakfast eaters who are consuming healthy breakfast options that contain whole grains and protein. People who are consuming healthy breakfast options are more likely to be choosing healthier foods for every meal. It is possible that these studies are just showing that healthy food choices, not just breakfast, lead to healthier lives. Today’s fast breakfast options, like cereals or breakfast bars, usually don’t contain healthy whole grains and proteins. Instead, they are full of sugar and processed carbohydrates which spike blood sugar leading to weight gain or diabetes.

A recent trend has people choosing to skip breakfast in order to lose weight. This idea is popular with the latest diet called intermittent fasting. While there is lots of research showing many potential gut health benefits for extending fasting times, the research does not show that cutting out breakfast is a quick way to lose weight. People tend to make up the calories lost from skipping breakfast through bingeing at lunch and snacking through the day. This trend seems to be worse with children. Studies show children who don’t eat breakfast tend to have a higher BMI than their breakfast eating counterparts.

Despite what marketing companies try to tell you, there is no “most important” meal of the day. If you are still struggling to lose weight even when trying a fasting diet, you may need to be doing more than just opting out of a meal. Schedule a free nutrition consultation here at Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic. Our Rochester, NY office has been helping many people learn to track calories and nutrients that enable them to lose weight without significant lifestyle changes. Give us a call and ask about our nutrition program.