Maybe breakfast doesn’t matter

Back in March, Mark Bittman and David L. Katz wrote an article ambitiously called “The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right,” and, not surprisingly, it didn’t quite live up to its title.

Their follow up article, addressing some of the most common questions that the first one raised, has some not-so-surprising answers (whole foods are best; our paleolithic ancestors didn’t eat bacon), and some that go against our common understanding of how to eat and stay healthy. In particular, they take a contrarian stand against one of the most common, and most widely accepted, forms of diet or healthy eating advice, right up there with drinking more water or suggesting a handful of almonds as the perfect portable healthy snack.

Is breakfast really as important as people say it is?
No. The importance of eating the minute your feet hit the ground in the morning is folklore.

No breakfast?! What is this heresy?

Truth be told it’s not as radical as it sounds. They continue to say,

“Studies on the timing of breakfast are few, and show mixed results. What it all seems to come down to is hunger. If you’re hungry, and want breakfast but don’t have it, the effects on alertness, concentration, productivity, and such tend to be bad. That’s no great surprise. On the other hand, if you don’t eat breakfast until 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. or even noon because you aren’t hungry until then, there’s no consistent evidence of any kind of harm.”

So there you have it, folks: instead of pounding that smoothie the moment you wake up because everyone else is doing it, try waiting until you’re hungry to eat. For me, that means before I get out of bed, but for others, that may be closer to lunchtime or that mid-morning energy slump.

What do you think? How does breakfast factor into your day?

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Food

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Food


  1. Kathy

    I’m usually not hungry-ish until about 8, so I make things I can have while at my desk. I do notice a difference if I skip it until lunch. All this is out the window if I am on an exercise routine morning then I really need that extra protein.

  2. Jamie King
    Jamie King

    I am ALWAYS hungry when I get out of bed. HA. I always have to eat first thing or I’m not a nice human but very interesting!

  3. Carleeh Mulholland

    I think it comes down to fueling an empty tank more than hunger. I tend not to be hungry until around 11 am daily and we found that I am weaker, less alert, and far more moody if I dont eat before 9am. Mostly, it makes me think of the calories we are burning just moving around out of bed or exercising without any energy to burn. Most fitness educator/experts even at Ideaworld will tell you if you do not eat before a workout your body will burn excess calories for a little bit, but then switch to lean muscle mass. The problem is that lean muscle mass is what we workout FOR lol so it pretty much defeats the purpose for health and wellness people to eat later or to fasted workout. But I would say it really comes down to each persons hormones and their activity level. A sedentary person probably doesnt require as much breakfast or someone who eats carbs fairly late since they will have things to burn off and their metabolism is probably mildly low. But highly active people, I wouldn’t agree with them. That’s why we get hangry because our bodies require fuel and going without for 10-12hrs with who knows how many calories they ingest during a given day seems unrealistic. I do agree on 90% of their other topics points about food quality. I think that it would ring the truest in general American diets, but not in people in an active life or health and wellness profession. We just move to much and burn so much energy, even when we binge watch on Netflix.

    I did really enjoy their opinions and slightly educated guesses on some of the topics. haha sprouted grains, fermented foods, and a few others they obviously dont ingest themselves haha but Mark is a foodie and they are always ingredient monitors for flavor and purpose over nutrition. But the good thing about that is, that higher quality food has less processing and that is the best way to eat. p.s. did you catch their little dig on vegans ” Vegan junk food is still junk food.” and technically I agree because most people think vegans only eat veggies (raw vegans) but most still eat breads, chips, and unnecessary foods just like the rest of us.

    great thought provoking share. I definitely spend my morning researching and reading. xoxo

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