People have been told for years now that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The reasons given for this claim are always something like; people who eat in the morning eat less throughout the day. Or people who eat breakfast make better food choices later in the day.
These statements are not necessarily true and at the very least, they put focus on the wrong thing. While it’s true that many healthy fit people eat breakfast in the morning, it is not because they eat breakfast that they are healthy and trim. It’s important to realize this because if the thought of eating first thing in the morning makes you uncomfortable or even nauseous, then don’t eat! It is far more important to listen to your body and not eat if you’re not hungry than to force feed yourself because you think you have to eat breakfast.
Here’s what we should be hearing instead of don’t skip breakfast: “Don’t snack after dinner” seriously. This is what it actually comes down to. The things we consume after dinner when we’re on the couch or in front of the tv are the things we should be having less of. Alcohol, high sugar or high fat snacks, all sorts of things that our psychology tells us are ok to eat now because it’s the end of the day and it’s unwind time. This is the real difference between healthy, fit and thin people, and overweight and sick people.
It’s easy to see why eating breakfast started getting all the attention, because people who stop eating after dinner go to bed with an empty stomach. Their body is not having to work hard to digest food or process alcohol and is instead focusing on important tissue repair and house cleaning. When the non-snacker wakes up in the morning, the cleaning and repair work has been efficiently done and their body is sending them signals that it is ready for some fuel so they eat breakfast. On the other hand, the pre-bedtime snacker who drank half a bottle of wine and had three rice cakes slathered with almond butter and honey is having an inefficient sleep cycle. Instead of doing repair work, the body has to work on digestion. Once the food is finally processed the body can begin repair work but by now the snacker is starting to wake up. The body is cranky. It didn’t have time to do what it needed to do while the snacker was sleeping so now the snacker wakes up groggy and cranky and now to makes things even worse this fool is trying to shove breakfast down his throat when his body only just finished digesting his late night snacks!
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? It depends on how you look at it. Eating breakfast will not make you healthy. But if you wake up rested and hungry for breakfast it’s a good indicator that you are making healthy choices in other areas of life. Don’t get hung up on the breakfast rule. Listen to your body, and pay attention to the more important things.