The Breakfast Myth

Let’s bust a diet myth, shall we?

Do you think breakfast is the most important meal of the day? I definitely used to think it was…

You know, because I “heard” it… or “saw” it on TV… anyone remember Tony the Tiger? And his famous ‘Frosties’? They bring out the TIGER in you!


Studies have previously claimed that eating breakfast is associated with better health and lower body mass, so really it’s no wonder that my mother forced me to have breakfast every day!

However, is there really a causal relationship? Does this mean that skipping breakfast will make you unhealthy and fat?

Not really – these claims have been made merely from observation, which is totally unreliable. Think about this – most people who skip breakfast also tend to be less health conscious, with habits such as going to bed later than those who eat breakfast. So generally, breakfast skippers tend to have worse lifestyles. You can see how eating breakfast doesn’t necessarily make you healthier, but rather those who eat breakfast are more likely to be health conscious than those who don’t. This just shows how studies claiming that having breakfast makes you healthier are merely correlations, as opposed to actual causations!

A study by LeCheminant et al. showed that when people who did not usually consume breakfast incorporated it into their diet for 4 weeks, they gained weight and fat.

“Er… so wasn’t breakfast supposed to help you lose weight?” Merely an observation people!

“Why did they put on weight?”

By eating breakfast they were adding more calories to their day. These people significantly increased their calorie intake, especially those coming from carbohydrates (i.e cereals loaded with sugar etc). As a result of the notion that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, people have always believed that eating something for breakfast is better than eating nothing, BUT this is not the case when that “something” is junk food! People go for the biscuits and the quick high calorie snacks, when in fact it is better to wait, and instead eat something more nutritious when you feel hungry again.

Since the people in the study didn’t reduce calorie intake on their other meals, nor increase their physical activity, they did not compensate for the increased calorie intake from their breakfast, so these people actually gained weight instead!

Now I’m not saying that people shouldn’t eat breakfast. Some people prefer to eat in the morning, whereas others don’t – it’s totally up to your own preference! BUT, those who do eat breakfast should be aware that the meal should be nutritious, as well as be sure that their daily calorie intake is not greater than their daily calorie expenditure. In other words, your weight loss or weight gain is attributable to the amount of calories you consume, regardless of whether you eat breakfast or not!