BREAKFAST: Most Important Meal Or PR Propaganda?

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? A lot of media coverage seems to comfirm this, but in reality the research isn’t so clear. Gabriel ponders the importance of breakfast over a bowl of delicious Bircher muesli…

As I sit here eating some Bircher muesli for my mid afternoon snack, my mind turns towards breakfast. You see I have a dilemma. I absolutely love eating Bircher muesli. Yet I feel lukewarm towards eating breakfast.

I must point out that I am talking about the real Bircher muesli not just muesli which has the word ‘Bircher’ arbitrarily written on the packet. Bircher muesli is the original healthy breakfast recipe that was invented by Dr Maximilian Bircher-Benner (the creator of muesli) which consists of muesli soaked in lemon and sweetened with grated apple which is an exquisite mix of sweet, sour and wholesome.

Now I am sure what is going through your mind…actually I am not quite sure, but I bet it is one of two things. Either you are one of those people that have heard how breakfast is the most important meal of the day and eat it religiously. In this case you are likely judging me for my lack of breakfast commitment. Or you are like me and  find breakfast either boring, too time consuming for a procrastinating riser (you know the kind of person that hits snooze to get an extra 10 minutes sleep rather than eat your first meal of the day) or you just don’t feel like eating food straight after you have woken up. Hence the reasons why I find myself eating a mid afternoon snack that rightfully and wishfully I should be eating every morning.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do love breakfast. I love sitting with a newspaper and a cup of coffee slowly, soaking up the morning sunshine as I nibble on a croissant or chomp down on some sourdough toast and a poached egg. I adore bacon, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, pancakes and in the right circumstances a bowl of porridge. And as I said, I absolutely love bircher muesli. I even enjoy the odd bowl of cornflakes or peanut butter toast. But that is just the thing, I like time to sit and enjoy my first meal of the day, I enjoy variety and I enjoy eating breakfast  once I have had significant time to wake up. And the reality of the working week means that breakfast just doesn’t live up to my breakfast ideals. And I absolutely hate wasting a meal of the day on food I am not going to thoroughly enjoy.

The  fact is, most people who eat breakfast eat the same thing day in day out. And quite often they eat high sugar cereal or white bread with butter and a sugary/salty spread. And if you stand by the popular slogan of ‘breakfast being the most important meal of the day which will help you concentrate and lose weight’ then you are fooling yourself. For starters, if you look at the research, ignoring all the stuff commissioned by Kelloggs and other similar companies, then you will find that there are (yes data are plural) very little conclusive data on the subject.

Sure breakfast is as important as any meal. Therefore it is important to eat a variety of healthy food and only when your body wants it. You should not be forcing down sugary cereals by the bowlful just because the companies that make them have created a great PR campaign telling us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

It is true that the research shows that breakfast is of particular importance to children, who are growing and need to eat regularly. But if you actually look at the research into breakfast and weight management you will find that people who regularly eat breakfast and are overweight will tend to lose weight if they start skipping breakfast. While those that don’t eat breakfast and are overweight will likely benefit from a morning meal. Why you may ask? This seems so confusing. Well the simple fact is that if you are overweight, having trouble concentrating or anything else that may be related to the food you eat, then changing what you are doing will likely be an improvement. The key – as previously mentioned – is to listen to your body.

Luckily for me, my mid-afternoon snack has made my body crave Bircher muesli for breakfast tomorrow. Also of happy coincidence is the fact that it is something that is best made the night before which will help me get over my little over sleeping issue. Why don’t you try challenging yourself and changing up boring old breakfast?


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