Breakfast, we’re told, is the most important meal of the day. Starting your day off right, cereal commercials and nutritionists would have you believe, will give you the brain power to succeed. When you eat a healthy, balanced breakfast, the wisdom goes, you’ll be that much likelier to make healthier decisions throughout the day by avoiding cravings.
Breakfast is the secret key to weight loss! Breakfast will change your life!! BREAKFAST WILL SAVE US ALL!!!
Well, that’s not the case, according to emerging research. Per Vox, research shows that breakfast isn’t important to weight loss and other healthy lifestyle choices. In fact, breakfast might even promote higher calorie consumption and weight gain. While similar stories pop up every few years—the New York Times and BuzzFeed both published stories questioning the importance of the meal as recently as 2016—for some reason, the narrative that breakfast is the most important meal of the day just seems to stick. And boy, is it annoying.
The positive breakfast associations linger despite the fact that BuzzFeed reported almost three years ago that multiple breakfast studies had “methodological flaws, biases, and, occasionally, conflicts of interest” (such as one breakfast positive study being sponsored by Kellogg’s). These conflicts of interest are widespread, too. According to Marion Nestle, a nutrition researcher quoted by Vox, “Many—if not most—studies demonstrating that breakfast eaters are healthier and manage weight better than non-breakfast eaters were sponsored by Kellogg or other breakfast cereal companies whose businesses depend on people believing that breakfast means ready-to-eat cereal.”
At the end of the day, what this research really shows is that there’s no magic bullet to a healthy lifestyle. So perhaps, next time someone says, “I don’t eat breakfast,” don’t bark like a seal and ask, “How?” Just let them live. Not everyone likes to start their day with a massive blueberry muffin.