In the last food blog I wrote, I discussed breakfast, and the notion that this was the most important meal of the day. In my mind this fact has not been proven 100%. I decided to look into this further, and started to go to sites that discussed breakfast, with various points of view. Before I do an overview of all the studies and sites, and I looked at about 20 of them, I must define and explain Circadian Rhythm. Circadian Rhythm is a natural internal process, that regulates the sleep wake cycle, and repeats every 24 hours. There is a Circadian Diet, which advocates eating more in the morning and less at night, and eating basically from sunup to sundown. Once the sun goes down you should stop eating. For this reason, breakfast is really emphasized, for those who believe, that the Circadian Rhythm should be constant. This philosophy believes you go to bed the same time everyday, and wake up the same time everyday. This subject could be another blog, but you can not look at breakfast studies, and not see this come into play. What did I find out about breakfast?
Despite all the benefits of breakfast, on average at least 30% of adults skip breakfast, on a regular basis. One of the biggest studies on breakfast, included 50,000 people. These people belong to the Seventh Day Adventist, which is a religious group. In this group 93% eat breakfast every day. In this group 37% consider dinner their biggest meal of the day. In the general population, well over 90% consider dinner their biggest meal of the day. Even though this is a very large study on breakfast, some of the conclusions are tainted, because this is not what the general populous does. There were many other studies on breakfast, not as large as the one mentioned, but on more of a cross section of the population. So what can be derived from most of these studies. Breakfast eating is not a major factor in weight loss, or weight gain. Skipping breakfast does seem to lead to some increase health risks. Skipping breakfast can lead to a 27% increase in coronary artery disease and a 20% increase in acquiring type II diabetes. One oddity was a decrease in bone density in Japanese men, who skipped breakfast. One study showed that college students did significantly better on exams if they ate breakfast, compared to students that skipped breakfast that day. Eating breakfast seemed to make children behave better, and not gain as much weight. Skipping breakfast seemed to make people more lethargic, and less active in the morning. A lot of the studies did not touch upon what type of breakfast, people were having. There was little mention of the what I call the traditional breakfast of bacon, ham, or sausage, with eggs and toast, plus potatoes. Those that did mention what to eat, advocated eating more protein and less carbohydrates and to stay away from the processed breakfast cereals. Of course, pastries and donuts are big no no. There is more talk of eating non traditional foods for breakfast, such as fish, chicken beans and nuts. The Circadian Rhythm people feel one should make breakfast the biggest meal of the day. This is not new thinking. Adelle Davis, nutritionist of the mid 20th Century, wrote eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.
After reading all this over the last two days, will this change the way I look at breakfast. I believe it will. I will make more of an effort to eat breakfast, before I leave the house or start my day. I like the fact that there is this trend to get away from the more traditional foods for breakfast. Will I make breakfast my largest meal of the day? I do not think so, but I will make it second. Dinner to me is more of a social gathering and I am not going to make any major changes in that process or what I eat for dinner. Again after reading all of this I know there is a lot of work to be done on what and how to eat. For the next 3 months I will make this effort to eat more for breakfast and see how it goes. Let’s face it anytime you are going to eat more of something how bad can it be. Will report on this in three months.