Is eating breakfast actually important?


Everyone’s heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it refuels our bodies after a night’s sleep and gives us the energy we need to go about our days. In 2011, Kellogg’s surveyed 14,000 Americans and found that 77% of children, 36% of high school students and 34% of adults actually eat breakfast. Are the people who don’t eat breakfast at some sort of disadvantage? Recent research has shown that it might not actually be as essential as we think.

Eating a well-balanced breakfast in the morning has many benefits for our health. Firstly, eating protein restores our glucose levels (which fluctuate between rising and falling throughout the night) and gives us the energy we need to function adequately throughout the day. Furthermore, since it’s our brain’s only source of energy, eating the correct carbohydrates in the morning makes us sharper and more alert. Secondly, research has shown that eating breakfast means you are less likely to become overweight. A study done by Yunsheng Ma et al. looked at the link between eating patterns and obesity. The results showed participants who skipped breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to become obese.

On the other hand, there has been research and studies that prove eating breakfast isn’t absolutely necessary, especially for weight loss. A study conducted by the University of Alabama proved that eating breakfast has almost no effect on your weight. Their study had 300 participants who were randomly allocated to the groups: eat breakfast, skip breakfast or continue with current breakfast habits. After sixteen weeks, their initial and current weights were compared and on average each person had only lost a pound.

Additionally, breakfast isn’t the only way you can get energy in the morning. Many people prefer working out. In one study, researchers looked at 70 different studies on the effects of exercising and energy levels. Over 90% of the studies showed that people who exercised regularly had more energy and less fatigue, compared to those who didn’t exercise.

Another factor to consider is that many of the studies claiming breakfast is very important are done by health and nutrition companies which means they are likely to be biased. Kelloggs, The Quaker Oats Company etc. are obviously going to try to promote their products as helpers with weight loss and good health.

In conclusion, I think that eating a healthy and well-balanced breakfast will help you throughout the day (definitely for college students who often have long and tiring schedules). However, if you’re eating breakfast to help with weight loss, you might want to look more into that as the fact is not totally accurate.

Other sources:

[1] [2] [3]

7 thoughts on “Is eating breakfast actually important?

  1. Beza Yoseph

    This post is definitely something that hits close to home for me. My parents and I always argue about the true importance of breakfast, I would miss breakfast often and just eat a bigger lunch and feel completely fine for the entire day. Your point that you brought up about obesity is exactly what my mom states would happen to me if I continue to skip breakfast, but you did mention a great point about these breakfast companies being the people that actually conduct these “studies”. I feel like they will say anything to push their product. One idea that came into my mind as I was reading your article was the idea of consistency, I have realized that when I try to eat breakfast after not eating it for a while, I feel more sluggish and actually a lot worse than I would if I did eat breakfast. Here’s an article highlighting this idea, hopefully you find it interesting!

  2. rlw5445

    Every morning I am forced to face the dilemma of whether or not to eat breakfast. On one hand I could get 30 extra minutes of sleep or I can eat breakfast like my parents have told me ever since I was little. The benefits of having a good breakfast have been shoved down our throats (literally) since we could talk, but your post intrigued me because it was the first time I have really ever heard someone argue that notion. As children we are very influential and will believe just about anything our parents/superiors tell us, but as young adults we have a right to ask questions, instead of blindly following orders. Your post caused me to research more into the true affects of breakfast on a college student’s academic performance and I stumbled upon this research conducted by Gregory W. Phillips, a science professor at Brenham College. They conducted an 11 year long survey about the effects of eating or not eating breakfast on a college student’s academic performance on a standardized biology exam. I found the results to be quick surprising. In Summary their results found a positive correlation between academic performance and eating breakfast. If you wish to learn more about the study it can be found in this link .

    1. Emaan Ali Post author

      Do you feel tired throughout the day? If you do, I think eating breakfast (or even doing a short workout) will be more beneficial than the extra 30 minutes of sleep! Here’s an interesting article on why exercising in the morning is good for you. Number 4 suggests that it increases your focus in school which means you’re likely to perform better academically. So this and the study you mention prove that you’re likely to do better in school if you do either one!

  3. Olivia Frederickson

    This is a very relevant topic to me since adjusting to college life has definitely shifted my eating patterns, specifically when and how often I eat breakfast. Since my morning schedule is different pretty much every day of the week, I like to squeeze in a quick run on the days I have later classes but on my earlier days I try to get something to eat before class. Also, with the amount of walking I do in a day, I’ve found keeping a balanced day of meals and exercise has helped keep me more energized. Personally, I think it’s not necessarily eating breakfast that gives you more energy, it’s specifically what you you eat for breakfast. You did mention that protein helps glucose levels balance out in the morning and carbs give energy to the brain. This link, ,gives some great ideas for not only healthy breakfasts to make in your dorm, but also lunch and snacks.

  4. Alexander Mark Schaefer

    I was waiting for someone to post this. Personally skipping breakfast makes my day awful. I don’t have energy for the whole day, and when it gets around lunch time it makes me groggy for whatever reason. I wrestled for four years and cut about 25 pounds per week. I could get by Mondays Tuesdays and Wednesday with a Cliff bar but that was nowhere near enough. Thursday and Friday breakfast was a handful of almonds and I felt like death the rest of the day. Now that I’m in college I try to eat breakfast every day if possible. I highly recommend getting a proper breakfast in the morning to all of my fellow Penn Staters. the following article supports the possibility of gaining weight, let me know what you think.

    1. Emaan Ali Post author

      I think if you’re doing an intense sport like wrestling (or any physical activity really) you definitely should be eating properly/at the right times. Like my blog post and your personal experience/article say, eating breakfast gives you energy that helps you function properly throughout your day. Did you ever have wrestling practice in the morning without breakfast? I’m curious to know if that gave you energy and worked as an alternative to eating breakfast.

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