For years we have been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will “boost your metabolism”, “kick start your body” and “keeps you alert”, but does any of this have a ounce of truth?

It is thought that the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” came from James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg in the 19th century. Does Harvey Kellogg sound familiar? His breakfast cereal is probably sat in your cupboard. This message was nothing more than a marketing campaign to sell more breakfast.

If we look at the science behind this message, a recent meta-analysis (a group of studies) showed skipping breakfast has no negative effect on weight gain or your metabolic rate. This

Instead of forcing breakfast down because you feel ‘like you have to’, you could embrace this movement of skipping a meal and giving a fancy title. Welcome intermittent fasting (IF). IF is a method of restricting food to only eat during certain time periods of the day. Whilst this sounds fancy, it basically involves skipping breakfast and not eating until lunch. This in turn, reduces calories and helps improve weight loss. IF or skipping breakfast is a well known weight loss method and has been shown to be just as effective as restricting calorie intake through any other method (STUDY). I would also like to point out that is was also found to be no more effective as just restricting calories.

Instead of rifling through endless scientific literature and online arguments, I would like to make a few simple recommendations.

You should eat breakfast if:

  • You are hungry when you wake up
  • You have time to make breakfast
  • You are trying to gain muscle
  • You need to perform in the gym or for a sport early in the day

You should skip breakfast if:

  • You are not hungry when you wake up
  • You are short on time in the morning
  • You are trying to lose weight
  • You have no major physical activity planned before lunch.

So, after we have looked at the scientific evidence, the alternative diet method to eating breakfast (intermittent fasting), can we all stop putting breakfast on this underserved pedestal. There are other meals throughout the day that all play an important role throughout our diet. We should be aiming to focus on highly nutritious, balanced meals, containing high protein and lots of fruit and veggies. One single meal is not going to have some profound effect on the body over another.

I know it’s not sexy, but consistently controlling calories over a period of time is going to be key to losing weight, not whether or not you ate your breakfast cereal.

So, the next time someone tells you breakfast is the most important meal of the day, tell them to “jog on!”.

If you want to learn how to control your diet and get the results you deserve. Get in touch today by filling in this form. I offer online and 1 to 1 personal training in a private training studio in Norwich.