Almost all of us do it, we break our overnight fast almost as soon as we throw back the duvet. Breakfast has long been considered the most important meal of the day. But Why Breakfast? Important or myth?
Do we really know why we almost always start our day like this?
Breakfast, as the word implies, means literally to break our fast.
Obviously we’ve been asleep and fasting for 8 hours or so, but when did it become our habit to break our fast almost before the sun is up?
Presumably we could just as easily break our fast much later in the day. In fact many groups of people do this all the time.
Farmers very often busy themselves with feeding the animals before finally returning to the house for food.
Have we always eaten breakfast in some form?
No, we haven’t always eaten breakfast. It was actually frowned upon by the Romans. (1)
They believed that it was healthier to eat just one meal a day, normally around lunchtime.
Frankly, with the rising popularity of intermittent fasting, the Romans were definitely on to a thing or two, and very early fans of reducing your eating window.
This idea of eating your first meal at lunch time persisted for a long time.
We were well into the middle ages before the word breakfast came into general use.
It wasn’t until the 17th century, that the idea of scarfing down a plate of food as soon as the cock crowed really caught on.
Coffee, tea and eggs started making an appearance after the restoration.
By the mid 17th century, it had become popular enough among the rich that they started adding breakfast rooms to their homes.
By the Industrial revolution, the put upon workers needed an early meal so that they could work for horrendously long hours without a break.
This habit continued even as workers rights improved, and by the 19th century everyone was eating something before heading out to work for the day.
In the 20th century, a man named John Kellogg invented cornflakes, and soon even the government was preaching about how important breakfast was.
In 1944 the makers of Grape Nuts, a breakfast cereal, were dreaming up catchy phrases to help sell their product.
They came up with : “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” without a shred of evidence.
Luckily for them, people couldn’t turn to the internet and check this out for themselves. It is now quoted so often that it’s passed into our collective consciousness as an undeniable truth .
Which brings us to today.
Why Breakfast? Important or myth?
The message about eating breakfast is very wide spread, and the message about it being important is well-known.
Many of us act as if we’d actually die if we missed this mega healthy meal.
But is it really healthy? Is it even important?
Why Breakfast? Important or myth:What do we eat for breakfast?
Obviously breakfast differs around the world with some being relatively healthy even if not necessary.
Western countries, however, have some shockingly bad eating habits when it comes to choosing food for the first meal of the day.
It’s difficult to know where to start, there is just so much badness on the plates of the average citizen within an hour of opening their eyes.
Pancakes? Packed with carbs and zero nutritional value. Adding some honey doesn’t make them a health food either.
You’ve just added some extra carbs in the form of sugar.
Orange juice? Who still thinks that’s healthy? It’s nature’s candy in a glass.
Oranges are fine, and contain lots of healthy micro nutrients, although if you’re watching your carbs they aren’t such a great idea even in this form.
How about toast? More carbs.
Cereal?! This item is so bad it deserves a paragraph or two all to itself.
Remember the makers of Grape Nuts? They played their part in this lets-eat-cereal at dawn thing. I’m not even sure if you can call it a meal.
Let’s take a closer look at breakfast cereals.
Did you know that two of the most popular items sold in grocery stores are Milk and Cereal?
This is more than a national habit, it’s an obsession.
Fun and Interesting Facts About Cereals tells us that the cereal industry in the United States uses over 400 million kilograms of sugar per year.
That’s a lot of health wreaking sugar, which is the main cause of inflammation in your body.
Inflammation is responsible for a very long list of diseases, all of which you probably don’t want.
Yet 50% of Americans eat cereal for breakfast every day. That pans out at 50kg of cereal per person every year.
Over 2.7 billion packages of cereal are sold annually.
Only the UK, Ireland and Australia beat the Americans at cereal eating.
Cereals are packed with refined grains, preservatives and artificial sweeteners or sugar.
Are there any healthy breakfast foods?
There are a lot of healthy foods to choose from. If you must eat breakfast you are spoiled by choice.
Any whole food that is nutritionally dense would do the trick. Much the same as the sort of food that you should eat for all your meals.
Eggs, bacon, avocado, coffee are all great choices and will keep you full for a long time, without any slump caused by a sugar rush.
The Germans are fond of cheese at breakfast, and this would be a healthy choice too.
There’s no need to ditch your healthy eating with breakfast foods.
So this brings us back to the main focus of this article. Do we need to eat breakfast?