The benefits of eating breakfast is now debatable

Benefits of eating breakfastCC: Melissa Walker Horn at Unsplash

Whether you’re a health fan or not, you’ve probably been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to recent research, the benefits of eating breakfast are debatable.

A review of the studies that tout the benefits of eating breakfast has found that doing so could make you gain weight. Before you throw away your cereal, it’s worth considering what this study means.

Why did researchers look into the benefits of eating breakfast?

To date, most studies examining the benefits of eating breakfast have been observational. Observational studies are more subject to bias, confounding factors, and social status than other types. They are useful in some areas of healthcare research, but it’s better to approach them with caution.

Results from observational studies have always told us that eating breakfast prevents binging later on. Additionally, it’s promoted as a way to increase your chances of losing weight. But as history has often told us, traditional weight loss advice isn’t always reliable.

What did the research reveal?

With all this in mind, a team of Australian researchers took a cautious approach to investigating the benefits of eating breakfast. They looked at whether doing so results in weighing less, which is one of the commonest reasons for prioritizing this particular meal. Not only did they find that those who eat breakfast are more likely to put on weight, but they also found that skipping it doesn’t result in excessive eating in the afternoon.

Before you throw away your cereal, it’s worth knowing that the researchers at Monash University acknowledged the study’s limitations. They made it clear that this doesn’t mean skipping breakfast results in weight loss. It just means the benefits of eating breakfast aren’t as universal as we once thought.

So what do you do about eating breakfast now?

It’s worth following the research team’s advice by taking this study for what it is. All it reveals is that the benefits of eating breakfast don’t automatically extend to weight loss. It doesn’t dispute the idea that breakfast provides essential energy throughout the day. Nor does it disparage the fact that breakfast is a great opportunity to top up on fibre and calcium.

If you are struggling with weight loss and the results of this study have struck a cord, now’s the time to review your morning routine. Try to create the benefits of eating breakfast in your own way before resorting to skipping it. Some ideas include:

  • Focus on meals that are high in fibre and that have a low glycemic index.
  • Consider eating lots of protein, as research reveals that this makes you feel fuller for longer.
  • Avoid convenience foods that are high in sugar, as you might experience binge-inducing cravings later on.
  • If you don’t enjoy eating first thing in the morning, find high-fibre breakfast bars to eat on the go.
  • If you workout first thing in the morning, try eating your breakfast afterward to experience the metabolic benefits.

For now, many of the benefits of eating breakfast still stand. Just don’t assume it’s the cornerstone of a successful weight loss plan.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.