You probably feel guilty when you skip breakfast. Why wouldn’t you? Many of us grew up with parents fussing to make sure we had something in our bellies before we set off for school. Or we were brainwashed by TV commercial propaganda that promised eating cereal would make us lean and athletic, that breakfast keeps our metabolism on track and helps us avoid bingeing later.
It turns out the research on eating breakfast has been far, far less conclusive than either your mother or Tony the Tiger would have you believe. In fact, if you’ve been eating breakfast to stave off weight gain, researchers are increasingly learning that breakfast might have the opposite of the desired effect — it can promote more calorie consumption and weight gain. But even the best available studies in the mix have serious limitations.
Before we get into what the science says, it’s worth understanding how the myth of breakfast was created.