Breakfast Is a Liar, Might Not Even Be the Most Important Meal of the Day

Illustration for article titled Breakfast Is a Liar, Might Not Even Be the Most Important Meal of the Day

Well, well, well. How the mighty have fallen. Tell me, breakfast, after so many years of being on top, of being shoved down our throats as the most important meal of the day, of feeding us lies, what does it feel like to suddenly be at the bottom? Not that good, I'll bet. Maybe you should try commiserating with your friend Lunch. He's been brushed aside for years.


Our whole lives we've been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it turns out that that might have been a bit of an overstatement. Or at least so says a study released to Nutrition Journal late last month that claims that people will eat the same sized meals at lunch and dinner regardless of whether or not they ate something immediately after waking up in the morning.

One of the reasons as to why we're often told that breakfast is important is because it helps measure calorie intake throughout the day. A recent fitness study by the British Journal of Nutrition found, however, that if it's fat you're looking to burn, exercising before you eat your first meal of the day burns 20% more body fat than if you exercise after breakfast. The same study also determined that those who worked out before breakfast did not consume more calories throughout the day than those who didn't.

Bodybuilder and blogger Martin Berkhan, who is not a scientist or doctor — I repeat: HE IS NOT A SCIENTIST OR DOCTOR — concurs with the study. From Salon:

"For me and many others out there, skipping breakfast keeps hunger away far better than eating in the morning-paradoxically enough…Why is it that some people are better off not eating anything at all in the morning? How can you be better off with zero calories than hundreds of calories under these specific conditions?"

His heavily-cited hypothesis is based on a phenomena called the cortisol awakening response, in which levels of the hormone cortisol are elevated in the morning, to help you wake up. Cortisol increases blood sugar. How your body deals with that increased blood sugar, according to Berkhan, determines how well you do on breakfast.

Unfortunately, it seems that we are the 24601 to breakfast's Javert. No matter where we go, no matter how many times we drag Eddie Redmayne through the French sewer, it will always find us because there are other studies out there, like a 2012 one from the Imperial College of London, that will continue to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that you will binge more if you skip it. Goddammit, you guys. The only solution I can think of is that we start eating the minute we wake up and don't stop until we fall asleep at night, preferably still chewing.

Everything you think you know about breakfast may be wrong [Salon]
Image via Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock.


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I wake up hungry, and if I don't eat a decently large breakfast, I feel awful all day >_>

On a side note, does anyone else ever think about what the varying responses to the breakfast question might tell us about other aspects of diet? Because we get "YOU MUST EAT BREAKFAST" drilled into our heads as kids, but then for some people it makes them feel awful and they do loads better skipping breakfast. I'm just curious because I tried going vegetarian/semi-vegan for several months, and it was an awful experience for me. I gained weight, felt like I was going to die the entire time, etc. even though I tried to follow the advice of people who found it makes them feel healthier and more energetic. But as soon as I started mixing animal products back into the mix, everything got back to normal, and I felt much, much better.

It makes me wonder the kinds of "nature" and "nuture" that make certain eating habits totally awesome for one person and then completely untenable for another.