Breakfast - the all-important meal that everyone says you shouldn’t skip… Is that really true? Do you eat breakfast every single day? Or maybe you skip it sometimes? Or never eat it? No matter whom you ask starting from our grandmothers, doctors to health-conscious friends, they all seem to agree. Common knowledge is that making time for the “loneliest meal of the day” will keep your blood sugar in check, stoke your metabolism, help you concentrate and will simply start your day on the right foot. Some even claim it is the secret for staying slim.
To be honest, I am confused…Here is why:
Balazs and I eat breakfast 3 out of 7 mornings a week. Not because we “have to”, simply because we are hungry. A while ago Balazs read a study by Mark Mattson proving that skipping a meal can actually be healthy and beneficial for our overall body functions. Also, Marian Nestle who is a nutrition professor and a breakfast sceptic says that people shouldn’t feel compelled to eat in the morning, calling it an overrated myth and states that it's rather individual.. “Some people are really hungry in the morning and some are not.” In her book What to Eat she writes:
"I am well aware that everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I am not convinced. What you eat and how much matters more to your health than when you eat.'
According to her study, they haven't found convincing enough evidence to prove that breakfast is necessary. Of course, it’s a whole different story when it comes to kids who should have at least something small in their stomach before school, since hunger decreases concentration. New York Magazine also agrees with this theory. Amanda Fortini who wrote a great piece on the subject says that from a researcher's point of view the real issue is that breakfast consumption is a habit that tends to occur along with a constellation of other healthy behaviours, like exercising, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy diet. On the opposite end, unhealthy behaviours also tend to stick together: fewer than 5 percent of smokers eat breakfast daily.
To confuse us ever more, another study says that if your aim is to optimize attention span and memory, then you should totally start eating breakfast each morning, but be well aware what you’re eating. For example, to improve your attention span you should go with ham and hard cheese on whole-grain bread. If you want to prevent heart disease (and who doesn’t?), try whole-grain cereal; one bowl per day is associated with a 28 percent lower risk of heart failure. If you’re a woman hoping to conceive a boy, then according to a recent study from the University of Exeter, you should increase your breakfast consumption by approximately 400 calories daily. Women with the highest caloric intake had boys 56 percent of the time, compared with 45 percent with the lowest caloric intake.
So what do you think: breakfast or no breakfast? What are your thoughts?
I think it’s a personal preference and since we all have different dietary needs, different metabolisms and different daily routines, we should listen to our bodies more and eat if we’re hungry.
P.S: More on food.
P.P.S: Plus, bedtime breakfast.
(All the information regarding the studies are from: Science News, New York Mag and Health. Photos by Trish, Isabella Bertolini, Máni Katz, Sheron via BKFST)