So that’s it then, we should never skip breakfast! But wait a minute, what about people who have little or no appetite first thing in the morning? I’m a perfect example of someone who would rather wait until mid-morning before eating anything, and it’s not because I’m still full from eating late the night before. It’s just the way I am. Also, this BBC experiment was based on one person, so it was hardly very conclusive.
In December 2013 an article in the Huffington Post broke ranks with tradition and dared to question the belief that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. The writer highlighted a paper by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which looked at the scientific evidence behind the benefits of breakfast and found it to be mostly biased and lacking value. Unfortunately there are plenty of ‘scientific’ results out there that start with a conclusion and create the evidence to back it up. The benefits of a good breakfast would seem to be one of them.
The Huffington article went on to mention the growing number of people who deliberately skip breakfast as part of a fast-based diet, the most well known being the 5-2 diet where two days in a week are limited to a small amount of calories. Alternatives to the 5-2 include skipping breakfast to continue the fast from the previous day’s dinner. Tests suggest that there are a lot of benefits to be had from missing breakfast in this fashion, such as:
- Helping to break down fat
- Anti-aging and weight loss benefits from the increased release of growth hormone
- Better blood sugar control
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Lowered food intake
One thing I felt the Huffington article didn’t mention was the importance of control. An episode of the TV programme Fat Families showed a pair of cousins who skipped breakfast, and lunch, only to gorge themselves on thousands of calories of junk food and alcohol in the evening. They didn’t control what they ate so any benefits from missing meals were lost. Chances are the ‘scientific’ test results showing the benefits of skipping breakfast are based on people who control their diet, and missing breakfast is part of that control.
Rather than “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” I would change that thought to “control is the most important diet watchword of the day”.
Huffington Post article
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition paper
David Bowie, owner of Healthy Fit Life, is a mobile personal trainer and sports massage therapist working in the Farnham and Camberley area.