The phrase "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is likely ingrained in your mind, whether you learned it from your parents, teachers or the many self-proclaimed "health experts" in the world. The idea of fueling your body after fasting for hours of rest makes sense, but have you ever reconsidered this popular assumption, that breakfast trumps all other meals? Is it true that consuming a well-balanced morning meal is key to jump-starting your day? If you don't eat breakfast, are you putting yourself at risk for overeating at lunch and dinner? Contrary to popular belief, the answer might be an astounding "no," as some research says breakfast is certainly a meal, but it's not as important as you think.
The Benefits of Skipping Breakfast
While skipping breakfast has always been characterized with negativity, research shines positive light on neglecting to break your fast. A study conducted by nutrition scientists David Levitsky and Carly Pacanowski at Cornell University found that skipping the first meal of the day a few times a week could result in weight loss.
"There's a fundamental belief that if you don't eat breakfast, you will compensate for the lost calories at lunch or later in the day. We've found that there is no caloric compensation in a normal group of eaters," explained Levitsky. "If you skip breakfast, you may be hungrier, but you won't eat enough calories to make up for the lost breakfast."
The researchers gathered a group of volunteers and split them into two groups – half who ate breakfast regularly, and the other half who skipped breakfast. Then, those individuals were observed to see how much they ate throughout the day. After analyzing their data, the researchers found that the breakfast skippers were hungrier than those who ate breakfast, but they didn't eat more at lunch or dinner – plus, they consumed 408 less calories in a day than those who ate breakfast.
Other researchers take it a step further than simply skipping breakfast a few times a week – they swear by following a 5:2 diet, which encourages normal eating 5 days a week and only 500-600 calories 2 non-consecutive days a week. The idea is that you'll eat fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss. Additional research by the University of Manchester also found that following this specific eating regimen may help control blood sugar, boost immunity and improve memory and energy levels.
The researchers analyzed overweight women aged between 20 and 69 years old and split them into two groups: Those following the 5:2 diet and those who continued adhering to more traditional eating habits of getting the recommended caloric intake seven days a week. After the completion of the experiment, the researchers found that the overweight women who fasted two days a week lost more weight and body fat, and also improved insulin resistance ,as compared to the women who followed the traditional diet.
What Should I Do?
At Hallelujah Acres, George Malkmus has consistently taught that all we need for breakfast is BarleyMax, waiting later in the day to eat a meal. This allows the body to continue its overnight cleansing process longer. Current research on food timing is showing the wisdom of this approach. Time-restricted feeding, that is, going 12-16 hours every day without eating, has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar control, promote weight-loss, and reduce risk of breast cancer. So, while breakfast might be important for children, it's not necessarily the most important meal of the day for adults. We strongly believe that when you eat you need to continue fueling your body with God's natural sustenance, regardless of the time. In fact, we believe that it's critical to fuel your body with essential vitamins and nutrients whenever you eat. In the morning, most adults can do very well with fresh vegetable juice, a smoothie or our best-selling BarleyMax for breakfast. However, you can still eat organic oatmeal, waffles, fruits and sauted vegetables in the morning for an energy boost. Make your plant-based diet fit your schedule. When it comes down to it, it's all about personal preference – just remember to stay balanced and consume vegetables, fruits, organic grains, nuts and seeds throughout the day.
As usual, we recommend taking a look through our database of recipes if you need inspiration in the kitchen. It can help you mix things up for lunch and dinner if you're interested in skipping breakfast or switching to simpler morning options like vegetable juice or smoothies.