Breakfast is a surprisingly polarizing topic: You either love it or hate it. It’s the most important meal of the day or there’s nothing special about it.
In the ever-changing world of nutrition, the debate over the morning meal just won’t go away. My take: Not only should you not skip breakfast, you should make it the largest meal of the day.
Multiple studies show the benefits of making breakfast a part of your daily diet routine and the pitfalls of skipping it. A 2017 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology followed female volunteers and found that those who skipped breakfast had a higher degree of hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis.
Another large study found that individuals who made breakfast the largest meal of the day were more likely to lose weight than those who made lunch or dinner their largest meals. This validated other large studies that showed that a big breakfast helps keep the pounds off over time. Finally, a study in type 2 diabetics found that a large breakfast containing protein helped in the management of type 2 diabetes.
The standard American diet — or “SAD,” which it truly is sometimes — is not the best example of what constitutes a healthy breakfast. That’s because the majority of Americans are chowing down on processed meat packed into biscuits, huge bagels smeared with jelly and sugary pastries or cereals. They are also downing it all with a big glass of orange juice.
These options may be the worst things to choose first thing in the morning. High carbohydrate foods lead to massive fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin, creating an energy high, followed by a crash that ultimately leaves you hungry, and searching for, you guessed it, more low-quality carbohydrates.