Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
Breakfast has long been described as the most important meal of the day. Yet, with the rise of trendy eating styles such as intermittent fasting, many people are abandoning the morning meal and breaking their fast later in the day. With conflicting advice, it can be difficult to know whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Intermittent fasting is a style of eating that has been suggested by some to help manage weight loss, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and sleep problems. The most popular version of intermittent fasting is time-restricted fasting, where a person limits caloric intake to a specific window of time every day, typically eight to 12 hours. Essentially, a person would eat breakfast closer to a traditional lunchtime and stop eating after dinner. Since most Americans eat continuously over a span of 15 hours per day, it logically follows that reducing the number of eating opportunities may be an effective way to lose weight. One study found that participants with metabolic syndrome who combined eating during a 10-hour window with medications had the ability to better manage their disease.
Many claims about intermittent fasting are based on anecdotal evidence; however, early research on the efficacy of intermittent fasting as a treatment for weight loss or other health conditions is emerging. More research is needed to determine whether fasting has long-term side effects such as nutrient deficiencies or health risks for certain populations.
The importance of nutritious breakfast habits for weight management and chronic disease prevention continues to be supported by science:
While the evidence for or against breakfast continues to be studied and debated, one thing is clear: breakfast positively impacts the academic success and cognitive development of children. Parents and adult figures can support the long-term health of children by role modeling healthy eating behaviors. Serving nutritious foods at regular mealtimes helps children grow into healthy eaters. Adults may choose to eat earlier or later in the morning, but encouraging breakfast for children can and should be prioritized for their long-term health and well-being.