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The Most Important Meal of the Day
We’ve all heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why is this? When we wake up and haven’t eaten for 8 – 10 hours, breakfast provides vital fuel for our bodies, giving us the energy required for proper brain and muscle function. Breakfast may also be an important factor in obesity prevention, according to numerous studies which have shown that regular breakfast eaters benefit from a psychological mechanism that helps with appetite control.
According to a five year longitudinal study examining eating patterns and weight in adolescents, the frequency of eating breakfast was inversely related with BMI. The study also found that breakfast eaters consumed more energy, carbohydrates, and fiber but lower amount of saturated fat. Breakfast eaters were also more physically active than those who skipped breakfast. Another study showed similar outcomes, and also found that children and adolescents that skipped breakfast had a higher prevalence of obesity compared to those who consumed cereal for breakfast.
In another study investigating the long term results of skipping breakfast, a sample of 9 – 15 year olds reported whether they typically ate breakfast. In a follow-up that occurred 20 years later, the participants were divided into 4 groups: skipped breakfast in both childhood and adulthood, skipped in only childhood, skipped in only adulthood, and didn’t skip at either stage. The results showed that subjects that skipped breakfast at both stages had a significantly larger waist circumference, higher fasting insulin, higher total cholesterol, and higher LDL cholesterol compared to the group that did not skip breakfast at either stage.