Why Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

You’ve missed your alarm, can’t find your favorite black shirt, your shoes are dirty and wet, and you’re at the brink of missing your bus. Then, as you rush past the dining room table, you’re bought to a screeching halt as you see your breakfast sitting on the table, and thus ensues the dilemma of missing your bus and walking in the scorching heat, or skipping your “most important” meal of the day.

I know, the obvious choice for plenty of people is taking the bus! Albeit I’m sure we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have you ever wondered why it’s held in such high regard?

Breakfast has been called ‘the most important meal of the day’ for generations. Several impressive claims have been made to justify the title, but are they all actually true? Let’s find out.


Breakfast and Weight

Breakfast is often said to kickstart the metabolism, thus making it an important factor for those who are looking to knock off a few inches. The first meal of the day allegedly determines whether your body will burn more fat during the day or not. When you eat breakfast, the body functions normally, content that it is going to get a normal intake of food. However, when you skip breakfast, the body is unsure when it will get food, so it works at conserving energy and burns less fat.

While this may sound rather convincing, the truth is that there is no sufficient proof to substantiate this claim. Researchers haven’t found much difference in the weight of the people who eat breakfast or those who skip it. What is true, however, is that when you skip breakfast, you tend to overindulge the rest of the day and have a higher chance of eating unhealthy food items. It has also been shown in studies that eating breakfast ensures better energy levels, although some studies show that this difference in energy level doesn’t last particularly long.


Eating a healthy breakfast is a good way to start your day (Photo Credit : National Institutes of Health / Wikimedia Commons)

Breakfast and Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Insulin is the hormone produced by our bodies that converts free glucose in the blood into glycogen. In Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t use the insulin efficiently.  This is known an insulin resistance. The pancreas initially increases the production of insulin to meet the requirements, but fails to keep the blood glucose level in check.

A number of randomized experiments have shown that eating a healthy breakfast decreases the risk of Type 2 diabetes. While it is not clear how having breakfast regularly reduces the chances of developing this condition, a number of studies have been able to establish a definitive link between the two.

Breakfast and Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of our blood vessels due to a buildup of plaque. As the condition worsens, it leads to blockages of blood vessels. Certain factors increase the risk of atherosclerosis, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, etc.

Studies have shown that eating a regular breakfast decreases the risk of atherosclerosis. Similar to diabetes, the mechanism hasn’t been identified.


Atherosclerosis  (Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons)

While eating a healthy breakfast may or may not necessarily speed up the metabolism, it is definitely a healthy way to start the day. It ensures that a person doesn’t overeat during the day, and helps a person eat better. However, high-caloric food should be avoided in the first meal of the day. Proteinaceous and carbohydrate-rich foods are preferable, as they provide the individual with instant energy, as well as energy for later. So, occasionally skipping your breakfast may still work, but on a daily basis, I’d suggest that you sacrifice a few precious moments of your sleep and eat a healthy breakfast instead!


  1. NCBI – NIH (Link 1)
  2. NCBI – NIH (Link 2)
  3. NCBI – NIH (Link 3)
  4. NCBI – NIH (Link 4)
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About the Author:

Mahak Jalan has a BSc degree in Zoology from Mumbai University in India. She loves animals, books and biology. She has a general assumption that everyone shares her enthusiasm about the human body! An introvert by nature, she finds solace in music and writing.

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