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Surprising Science

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


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