Breakfast is frequently labelled as the most important meal of the day, supplanting lunch and dinner as the one meal we apparently should never, ever miss. Doing so can reportedly lead to a raft of drawbacks for our wellbeing, and there have been a number of movements to try and encourage us all to eat a morning meal. These include Jamie Oliver’s Magic Breakfast intuitive, and Huel’s Instagram campaign #letsbebetter. Yet, a study released in 2016 argued that the concept of breakfast being the most important meal of the day has little scientific basis, and figures show that roughly 45% of Brits and around 30% of Americans regularly skip breakfast. So just how bad is this?

How important is breakfast?

 It does appear one of the biggest perceived benefits of eating breakfast is overstated. It is often claimed that this will allow us to better control our weight. One of the apparent drawbacks of skipping breakfast is that we will then be likely to eat more later in the day, however, this notion has been discredited by a number of studies. Another assumption about eating breakfast is that it will kickstart our metabolism and lead to an increased energy expenditure, which can help us lose weight. Although this metabolic increase is greater in the morning than in the evening, the effect breakfast will have is minimal, as it will only account for around 10% of our energy intake.

Whilst it may not be as disastrous as we would think to skip breakfast in terms of our weight, it is still evident that eating breakfast can be highly beneficial for us. Doing so may help us better fight type 2 diabetes and obesity, with a study showing that those who skipped breakfast oxidised more fat, meaning their bodies broke down more of their stored fat reserves. This was likely down to a defect in metabolic flexibility, which relates to the body’s ability to switch between burning fat and carbohydrates. This can lead to inflammation and impaired ability to regulate blood sugar levels that can be the catalyst for health complications.

It has also been shown that eating breakfast can improve exercise endurance performance, help our body better regulate glucose concentrations, and may prevent heart attacks. Whilst some of the benefits of eating breakfast may be overstated, it is undeniable that this first meal can be hugely advantageous for us.

Why do people skip breakfast?

A significant number of people skip breakfast, with most blaming a lack of time in the morning. With many of us leading extremely hectic lives and having to rush to get to work on time in the morning, it can seem like an insurmountable task to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast. Many of us also prioritise our sleep, and would rather spend extra time in bed than get up earlier to make breakfast.

Another major reason for skipping breakfast is that many of us simply have no idea what to make. There is also plenty of apathy towards stereotypical breakfast foods, and some of us just do not feeling up to eating in the morning. Others don’t not want to cramp up during a morning workout.

What can be done to counteract this?

 Many of these reasons for not eating breakfast can be easily addressed. For those that say they do not have enough time to prepare breakfast, or do not want to overload themselves ahead of an early morning exercise session, there are a number of simple solutions. For example, you could decide to have a whole grain cereal or a fruit salad that takes next to no preparation and won’t leave you feeling too full.

You could look towards liquid solutions that remove the worry of shopping altogether as well as preparation and cooking times. These will still provide you with sustenance and a healthy breakfast that takes almost no time to prepare. A number of nutritionally complete food products have recently infiltrated the market, including the vegan friendly Huel who’s recent Instagram drive was mentioned above. Containing all of the proteins, carbs, and fats that you need, you simply add water to the powder or opt for a Huel bar or granola instead. This is perfect for people on the go that have little time to prepare food, and will also ensure that those who want to exercise after breakfast can do so comfortably.

Although some of the perceived benefits of eating breakfast may be exaggerated, there are still a number of benefits to doing so. With the multitude of healthy, tasty and simple to prepare breakfast options available, it is well worth making sure you have your morning meal.

 

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