The institution of breakfast is rarely challenged. It ranks somewhere between sleep and oxygen in reputed health benefit, and supposedly supplies irreplaceable energy to get you going, primes your metabolic system, keeps your muscles healthy, feeds your brain, and generally prepares you for the day to come. But what if the age-old wisdom is an old wives tale? Recent studies suggest that at the very least, the benefits of breakfast are not so simple.
For our purposes, breakfast means a meal eaten soon after waking, before going about one’s daily business. Thus, a 2 pm meal could be considered breakfast if you’ve just woken up, but not if you’ve been awake since 8 am.
On Jan. 18, Nutrition Journal presented a study that suggests people will eat the same size meals at lunch and dinner regardless of how much they ate for breakfast. This challenges the conventional wisdom that if you skip breakfast, you’ll gorge later to make up for it.
The pro-breakfast camp had earlier found support in an October, 2012 study at the Imperial College of London, which compared brain scans and caloric intake of 21 people who either ate or skipped breakfast. As Medical News Today summarized the findings: “Skipping breakfast increased hunger, appeal of high-calorie foods and food intake at lunch.”
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