Is Breakfast Really "the Most Important Meal of the Day?"

The importance of breakfast is treated as axiomatic by much of society, but the myth that it's the most important meal of the day didn't even exist 100 years ago.

When it comes to food, there are certain axioms that go without question. Fried food isn't good for you. Vegetables are. You should keep your cholesterol intake low, but your fiber high. And don't ever skimp on breakfast -- breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day.


Or is it? Heather McClees of The Raw Food World did some investigating and, apparently, that phrase may not be as axiomatic as we think.

"Would you believe that what most of us are told about breakfast all came from one quote from a 1917 article in Good Health, which has been said is the 'oldest health magazine in the world?' Lenna Cooper was the first to tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it’s the first meal we consume that should start us out on the right foot. Cooper continued to say that breakfast foods should be easy to digest, full of nutrients, enjoyed with family, and not be over 500 calories."

In fact, as McClees explains, breakfast was even seen as gluttonous in many parts of the Western world up until the 17th century. Despite that, Lenna Cooper's semi-hyperbolic advice isn't necessarily wrong. Multiple studies show that eating a light breakfast can help reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease. McClees, whose focus is on raw diets, suggests something like steel-cut oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts.

Even if you're not that health-conscious, the important thing to know is that "the most important meal" has since been appropriated by processed food and sugary cereal companies to sell unhealthy breakfast foods. Cap'n Crunch, Eggo Waffles, and Pop-Tarts are in no way part of anything that can be deemed "most important" except, perhaps, "the most important unhealthy food items to cut from your diet."

Read on at The Raw Food World

Photo credit: Nitr / Shutterstock

A still from the film "We Became Fragments" by Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller, part of the Global Oneness Project library.

Photo: Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller / Global Oneness Project
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
  • Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
  • Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Keep reading Show less

Four philosophers who realized they were completely wrong about things

Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?

Sartre and Wittgenstein realize they were mistaken. (Getty Images)
Culture & Religion

Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways. 

Keep reading Show less

5 charts reveal key racial inequality gaps in the US

The inequalities impact everything from education to health.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

America is experiencing some of its most widespread civil unrest in years following the death of George Floyd.

Keep reading Show less

Ask an astronomer: What makes neutron stars so special?

Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller talks ISS and why NICER is so important.

Michelle Thaller - Ask A Scientist - Nasa's NICER Mission FULL SCREENER
Videos
  • Being outside of Earth's atmosphere while also being able to look down on the planet is both a challenge and a unique benefit for astronauts conducting important and innovative experiments aboard the International Space Station.
  • NASA astrophysicist Michelle Thaller explains why one such project, known as NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer), is "one of the most amazing discoveries of the last year."
  • Researchers used x-ray light data from NICER to map the surface of neutrons (the spinning remnants of dead stars 10-50 times the mass of our sun). Thaller explains how this data can be used to create a clock more accurate than any on Earth, as well as a GPS device that can be used anywhere in the galaxy.
Scroll down to load more…