Breakfast – the most important meal of the day? That notion may have gone the way of the Tamagotchi. According to an article by Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times “new research suggests that in terms of weight loss, breakfast may be just another meal.” In fact, skipping breakfast in these studies did not fatten people.
Not convinced? You’re in good company. People on both sides of the argument are passionately divided on the issue and there are facts to backup both camps. An article in The Atlantic described the motivation of the research that defines our thinking: “one thing I’ve learned as a health writer is that a wealth of academic research is the product of personal vendettas, some healthier than others.”
Pro-Breakfast Camp: It all starts with PEBO. Which stands for “pancakes, eggs, bacon and orange juice.” Although scientists are divided on this topic as well and some think it stands for “proposed effect of breakfast on obesity,” you decide. It’s the idea people who don’t eat breakfast actually end up eating more or making bad food choices during the day because they are starving from the night before and aren’t listening to their bodies.
Anti-Breakfast Camp: A large study by the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, and arguably one of the most persuasive pro-breakfast cases to date, found that eating breakfast was associated with significantly lower risk of heart disease – which is pretty darn important.
To even further complicate the matter David Katz, the former director of Yale University’s Griffin Prevention Research Center, provides an even more nebulous philosophical perspective: “Research about breakfast tends to divide the world into those who skip, and those who don’t. But deferring and skipping are not the same. Skipping despite hunger, and deferring for want of it, are not the same. And clearly all breakfasts are not created equal.”
So what’s the takeaway here? Who knows. I go back to the wisdom of Gretchen Reynolds “The new science would seem to be that if you like breakfast, fine; but if not, don’t sweat it.”