- Diet & Weight Loss
Is Breakfast A Necessary Meal?
Let's Take A Closer Look At Breakfast!
Every day you hear about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. Almost every week, a new study comes out to confirm how important breakfast is to your health and weight.
Here is my question: If breakfast was such an important meal that everyone should be eating, then how come healthy regions around the world, including the one I was raised in, don’t eat breakfast? When I lived in Greece, adults did not eat breakfast and when they did eat in the morning, it was something very small with their coffee. As kids we did eat breakfast sometimes, but only if we were hungry and nothing big. When I lived in Greece in the 70s and 80s, people in my home town lived long healthy lives free from most of the diseases you associate with the western world. As a kid I thought cancer was a rare disease, because I did not know of anyone who had cancer. Thin was the norm and, out of 350 kids in my school, 3 or 4 kids were overweight. People in their 90s lived productive lives free from most of the diseases we associate with getting old. What I find very interesting is that the way we were eating in Greece, when I lived there, completely contradicted much of the popular advice you get from weight loss and fitness experts.
Eating breakfast, besides contradicting healthy regions around the world, works against digestion too. Think about it, how do you feel after eating? Most people want to take a nap after eating. In Greece, where lunch was the main meal of the day, at least in the cities, we would take a nap after eating or at least relax. Most people had a 3 hour lunch break. However, in the villages where my mother grew up, dinner was the main meal because people worked in the fields during the day and did not take a 3 hour lunch break. Basically, if you look at all the healthy regions around the world, their main meal is always eaten at a time that they could rest afterwards. Don’t you find that interesting?
The reason resting after eating is very important is because digestion takes up a lot of energy and, if you are too active after eating, you might not have enough energy for proper digestion. Think about it, what do all animals that eat a significant amount of food do after eating, like a lion, a tiger, or even our dogs and cats? They sleep or at least rest. They know instinctively what they need to do after eating. Resting after eating is the best thing you can do for your digestion. If you eat a big breakfast and then go to work, that will not be very good for digestion, especially if you have a stressful job. Stress is another thing that will compromise digestions.
Let me ask you another question - if breakfast is so important, how come most people are not hungry in the morning? What, their body is trying to sabotage itself? And, by the way, the people who think that they are hungry in the morning, in most cases, is an habitual hunger, not a true hunger. Basically you have trained yourself to expect food in the morning so the body acts as if it’s hungry
So the obvious question is this: if breakfast is not an important meal, how did we develop the belief that it is? The answer is very simple. Smart marketing by the food industry and spending millions of dollars lobbying the government to make sure it does not recommend anything that would contradict their message that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Studies are another way they try to convince people, but if you take a closer look at breakfast studies you will find that most of them are observational studies. Basically, they looked at people who ate breakfast and people who do not eat breakfast and notice that the people who ate breakfast were less fat than the people who did not eat breakfast. They simply assumed that the reason they were less fat was because they ate breakfast and they came up with some theories to explain how eating breakfast helped them to weigh less. They never took into consideration that it could be something else that the breakfast eaters were doing that kept them slimmer. Dr. David Allison, of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama, and his colleagues agree with me. After they looked at 92 breakfast studies, published between the years of 1994 and 2011, they found no hard evidence to support the idea that eating breakfast is good for weight loss. Basically he said that most of the studies were observational studies.
What I also find interesting is the fact that the vast majority of studies that support the idea of breakfast are paid for by cereal companies.
Based on my own research and observations in my 22 years in the weight loss field, I have absolutely no doubt that eating breakfast is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of people.
I would love to hear your opinion on breakfast, so please leave your comments below. Thank you!