© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Morning munchies: breakfast might not be so important afterall


You wake up, brush your teeth and head to the refrigerator for breakfast, but really wish you could have enjoyed that extra 30 minutes of sleep. Well, according to a few recent studies, you might be able to do so afterall.

This week on “Take Care,” health reporter Gretchen Reynolds, talks about how skipping breakfast may not be such a bad thing.  Reynolds writes for the New York Times "Well" blog and is the author of the book “The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer.”

The belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been a part of American culture for a long time. Reynolds says this misconception came along when a large number of studies showed an association with eating breakfast and not being heavy.

However, none of these studies could actually prove that not eating breakfast caused you to gain weight, she says.

Scientists recently conducted randomized trials where half of a group of overweight people ate breakfast and the other half did not. The results showed that there was no effect on weight loss or gain.

“It seemed pretty clear that breakfast is just another meal. It did not influence whether people lost weight or not,” Reynolds said.

Another study looked at whether people compensated for missing meals. This group was made of people who were generally in shape and half ate breakfast while the other half skipped it.

During this trial, Reynolds says, researchers watched how much the people ate the rest of the day and their blood sugar.

Those that ate breakfast moved around a little more during the day and those that didn’t eat breakfast were less active, but ate less throughout the day. So both groups took in and burned the same amount of calories.

Scientists plan to do this same study with overweight people, but Reynolds points out if someone who is not active eats breakfast they are going to gain more weight than someone who is active and eats breakfast.