Before you skip breakfast, read this

© Akakiy | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Akakiy | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

One after another, the headlines screamed, Why Breakfast May Not Be The Most Important Meal Of The Day, Skipping breakfast might not be bad for weight loss  and then finally the New York Times Magazine piece,  Is Breakfast Overrated? by Gretchen Reynolds where  she concluded,  “For now, the slightly unsatisfying takeaway from the new science would seem to be that if you like breakfast, fine; but if not, don’t sweat it.”

Two  recently published studies, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  which assessed the effects of breakfast skipping have certainly grabbed media attention.  Hundreds of media reports are now stating it’s OK to skip the first meal of the day as it has no effect on various health parameters.

Give me a break!

Yes, scientific studies have long promoted the wisdom of breakfast being the most important meal. But there’s a key consideration to keep in mind when you read about this latest research:  It’s what’s on the menu that makes it so vital.

These two studies didn’t even begin to delve into that minor aspect of what was consumed at breakfast.  One study even states, “the breakfast group reported ingesting most of this additional energy in the form of carbohydrate, particularly in the form of sugar.”


Mainly sugar for breakfast and it didn’t offer a benefit over skipping breakfast? Did the researchers expect that if you have something akin to a donut and coffee to break your fast, you’re going to reap some kind of health benefit?

In the other published study, the paper states, “ This experiment was not designed to test the efficacy of a particular breakfast  [eg, protein quality ]  … on weight loss.

Again, the scientists were not looking at the particular  makeup of the meal so again, it could have been that donut and coffee, buttered toast and jam or a bowl of sugary cereal that was being assessed.

They didn’t want to look at what was being eaten at breakfast? Go figure.

These key facts about the study design were left out of the abstract so those who might look at the actual  journals would not have discovered how ridiculous the research was.

It does a disservice to people who are trying to make smart food choices  for health’s sake.  The reports simply confuse an issue that has been investigated repeatedly.

Another important takeaway from the publishing of these investigations is that a couple of studies do not make a scientific consensus. This is achieved when there are numerous studies which seem to point in one direction.

Here are just a few of the health perks  of a BALANCED  breakfast that I have written about as a result of good scientific research.

•    Higher overall nutrient intake

•    Easier girth control

•     Decreased risk for diabetes

•     Lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure readings

•     Higher energy levels through the day

•     Better productivity

Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day but many of us thought we had moved  beyond having to say, “A balanced breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”


What was your take on the latest breakfast studies? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Rosie's Rants

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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3 Comments on “Before you skip breakfast, read this”

  1. Paula
    August 26, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    Yes -breakfast is my most favourite and important meal of the day! We need to “break our fast” to get our body in the awake/working mode-by feeding it healthy food. My mother always made her 7 children a healthy breakfast every morning (actually boiled eggs, toast, orange and glass of milk) and to this day -we all love breakfast! Thanks mom .

  2. August 26, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Glad you laid it out so nicely Rosie. When I read about it, I filed it under “sensationalist media dietary advice” that doesn’t reflect my reality. And yes my standard breakfast is a far cry from the Donuts & coffee variety. Your article explains why I ignored this bit of non-scientific tripe. The composition of breakfast is indeed key. balance, balance, balance

  3. August 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Thanks for your comments and feedback, Paula and Paulette! I, too, made my kids have breakfast every day – if they said they weren’t hungry, I told them they must be tired and they needed an earlier bedtime. That always worked and now, as adults, they are indeed breakfast eaters.

    I agree that it was somewhat sensationalist media but I also blame the authors of this study. I don’t understand how a study such as this could be published and that it didn’t outline the lack of balance at breakfast in the abstract. It buried the important information in the text of the article! Infuriating!!

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