Is eating breakfast really that important?

Conventional wisdom has been that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We have all heard that skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain, lack of concentration, and even increased risks for heart disease. Digging deeper, things are not so clear.

Healthy breakfast

Many studies that indicate health benefits of breakfast were sponsored by breakfast cereal makers. That does not necessarily mean the studies were bogus, but it certainly makes you doubt the conclusions a little bit.

The problem isn't that facts were twisted but more that most of these studies were poorly designed in clarifying between correlation and causation. For example, one study found that people who eat breakfast tended have lower body mass index than those who skip breakfast. But in this case, you don't know if the differences in body mass index were driven by breakfast eating habit alone. It could be that people who skip breakfast have a totally different circumstance that elevate their body mass index - more stressful and busy work schedule, for example. A better designed study would have first rounded up people, randomly divided them into two groups, and have one group eat breakfast while the other skip.

The health benefits of eating breakfast is hardly a sure thing when you look at existing scientific evidence. So what does that mean?

If you have time to make and eat healthy breakfast - consisting of whole fruits (not juice), fibrous complex carbs and high-quality protein - then by all means go for it. Do not gulp down a big bowl of sugary cereal and think you're gaining health benefits.

Personally, I skip breakfast and eat nothing until 11am. I try to get in a workout at 1030am for 30 minutes then break my fast with an early lunch at 11am. I find myself concentrating much better in the morning on an empty stomach. And because I fast from 9pm to 11am daily, it has led me to consuming less calories and helped me shed some stubborn pounds.  

So, to recap: Eating breakfast does not automatically improve your health or confer you an advantage in mental acuity. If you can eat healthy in the morning then go for it. If the best you can do is grabbing a donut on the way to the office, maybe you're better off fasting until lunch.  Or just suck it up and wake up 15 minutes earlier and eat something healthy.