We all know the old adage: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. However, with the rise of the intermittent fasting trend, breakfast’s good reputation has taken a bit of a hit.
Scientific studies aim to change that and prove breakfast is even more important than the old phrase gives it credit for. With breakfast thought to provide improvements in metabolism and enhanced learning ability, there’s something the meal can do for everyone.1,2
In this article, we’ll examine all the reasons why you should eat breakfast – and some possible health benefits of your morning meal. We’ll investigate any drawbacks to eating breakfast and find out exactly what a healthy breakfast involves.
Why is breakfast important?
Breakfast can support you in achieving your health and lifestyle goals. Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast typically weigh less than people who don’t – even if they consume more calories overall.3
Emerging science suggests your body digests and processes nutrients more effectively in the morning. This means the food you eat earlier in the day have a more significant impact on health than anything you consume later.4 In which case, breakfast is literally the day’s most important meal.
Different benefits of having breakfast
A good breakfast should enhance health and overall vitality. Eating breakfast can help to:
Improve heart health
Eating breakfast can make you less likely to suffer from heart disease or a stroke than those who regularly skip it.5
Children who eat breakfast may perform better in school than those who don’t, as its likely breakfast enhances cognitive abilities.6
Those who eat breakfast can benefit from improved digestion. People who eat a protein-packed breakfast, instead of a carbohydrate-heavy breakfast, can benefit even more from improved digestion.7
Breakfast-skippers are, on average, heavier than those who eat breakfast in the morning.8
Breakfast eaters snack less than skippers.9
Better overall diet
Breakfast eaters – especially those who eat cereal for breakfast – typically have a better overall diet and eat more nutrients.10
Potential drawbacks of breakfast
The importance of breakfast for a healthy diet shouldn’t be overlooked. However, there are some possible drawbacks to consuming breakfast. These include:
Higher overall calorie consumption
People who eat breakfast consume roughly 400 calories a day more than those who don’t.11
No weight loss benefits for the overweight
Eating breakfast doesn’t improve the likelihood of weight loss for overweight and obese adults.12
No intermittent fasting
Eating breakfast stops you intermittent fasting, which has been proven to aid weight loss and enhance metabolism.13,14
What constitutes a healthy breakfast?
Evidence suggests that any breakfast is better for health than no breakfast at all. Still, protein-rich breakfasts are better for digestive health and reduced appetite.15
Incorporate these ingredients into your breakfast for enhanced health:
- Eggs. Eggs contain good cholesterol which can enhance heart health16
- Greek yoghurt. Greek yoghurt is protein-rich and supports gut health.17 Enjoy it with a high fibre cereal.
- Oats. It’s likely that oats reduce cholesterol levels and enhance feelings of fullness.18,19
Last updated: 13 October 2020