Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nutritional Propaganda--Eating Breakfast

I've always been leery of "nutritional propaganda."  You know, campaigns trying to convince you that you should be eating (or not eating) this or that.  

One bit of traditional advice that I've always held suspect was the idea that too lose weight, you had to eat a humongous breakfast.  

Now, I'm one of those people who has to eat breakfast.  Don't ask me why, but I can't get through my morning without having something, even if it's a little fruit to get me going. 

But, if I've had a lot to eat the day before, I always thought it insane that you're supposed to then eat some huge breakfast the next day.  Let's face it, if I went out for a special meal with my husband the night before, I'm just not all that hungry.

It always seemed strange to me that we were somehow biologically programmed to eat breakfast every morning when our ancient ancestors basically ate when they got food, and that often meant days with no food much less three distinct meals.

And, if you're the type that just isn't all that hungry in the morning, then why should you stuff your face when you're not in the mood?

So, I've always held the "eat breakfast" and "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" mantras with some speculation, generally attributing them to propaganda promulgated by all those food manufacturers selling breakfast cereal. 

It just didn't make sense.  If you eat when you're not hungry, how on earth does that induce you to eat less throughout the day?

Well, as it turns out, my skepticism was justified.  New research shows that eating breakfast does not lead to a cut in the overall intake of daily calories.  The study showed that people ate the same at lunch and dinner irregardless of what they ate for breakfast.   If someone ate 400 calories for breakfast, then they generally ate 400 calories more then the person who didn't eat breakfast.

I think that to control weight, it's more important to listen to your body then watch the clock.  If you're hungry, eat, if not, don't even if the clock says its time for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


  1. I have been doing a self-experiment. I always was ravenous when I woke up in my morbidly obese days, so I had an enormous breakfast--anywhere from 400 to 800 cals (or more if I was in super-eat binge-y mode). Generally 700...I tracked it on nutrition logs. 700 seemed to be what I wanted at breakfast.

    Then, when I got control of the binge-ing...I wasn't as hungry when I woke up. WAS hungry, but minimally. Appettite calmed down. I experimented with going longer without eating...between dinner and breakfast. I find that 16 hours is a bit magical. I lose faster the weeks I wait longer to eat, even if I still have the same calories. Dunno why. Have more energy, too, against conventional wisdom.

    I still eat after getting up (much smaller breakfasts, ideally 300, sometimes up to 450)...but on days I skip, I feel no guilt. Ive seen that for me, "intermittent fasting" works well....

  2. I was totally following until the writer used the word 'irregardless' and I won't bother explaining LOL

  3. I was totally following until the writer used the word 'irregardless' and I won't bother explaining LOL