“Eat break­fast your­self!” The impor­tance of break­fast (against the back­ground of a mod­est lunch and the refusal of din­ner) is reit­er­at­ed by doc­tors, sci­en­tists and folk wis­dom. But is break­fast real­ly that impor­tant? And if it is real­ly impor­tant, then what should it include?

The role of break­fast for health was found out by Med­AboutMe.

What is breakfast?

Break­fast is the first meal of the day with­in two hours of wak­ing up from your longest sleep of the day, before start­ing dai­ly activ­i­ties.

Break­fast is a unique meal com­pared to all oth­er meals: it is at this moment that the long night fast­ing stops. And the longer the fast­ing time, the high­er the con­cen­tra­tion of the hor­mone ghre­lin and the low­er the con­cen­tra­tion of the hor­mone insulin.

Break­fast, accord­ing to sci­en­tists and doc­tors, should pro­vide a per­son with 25–35% of the dai­ly calo­rie intake. It is an essen­tial part of a bal­anced healthy diet. How­ev­er, accord­ing to var­i­ous data, from 12% to 24% of young peo­ple skip break­fast and lose a lot in doing so.

So why should you eat break­fast?

Breakfast reduces appetite

Breakfast reduces appetite

Back in the 1990s, sci­en­tists dis­cov­ered that break­fast leads to a pro­longed feel­ing of sati­ety and there­by reduces appetite by the time of din­ner. But this is only if the break­fast includes foods high in fiber and low in fat. If there is lit­tle fiber and a lot of fat, then this effect is absent.

How does fiber in break­fast reduce appetite?

In a 2011 arti­cle pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Nutri­tion, sci­en­tists explain that increased sati­ety and decreased appetite by din­ner time are due to the activ­i­ty of gut hor­mones, includ­ing chole­cys­tokinin, which induces sati­ety and reg­u­lates appetite.

In addi­tion, fiber is only exposed to enzymes in the colon, which can result in the for­ma­tion of short-chain fat­ty acids. And these won­der­ful sub­stances, get­ting into the blood, reduce the pro­duc­tion of glu­cose in the liv­er, the lev­el of fat­ty acids in the blood and stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of glucagon-like peptide‑1, which acti­vates the process­es of sat­u­ra­tion.

Inter­est­ing­ly, break­fast itself changes a per­son­’s eat­ing habits. Thus, it has been proven that those who reg­u­lar­ly eat break­fast con­sume less dietary fat and cho­les­terol, but get more fiber com­pared to those who neglect break­fast.

Breakfast linked to increased physical activity

Sci­en­tists from Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­si­ty, in a 2016 arti­cle pub­lished in the jour­nal Pro­ceed­ings of the Nutri­tion Soci­ety, report that break­fast increas­es a per­son­’s phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. Dur­ing overnight fast­ing, glyco­gen stores in the liv­er are sig­nif­i­cant­ly (about 40%) reduced, and this reduces the avail­abil­i­ty of endoge­nous glu­cose. A high-car­bo­hy­drate break­fast replen­ish­es liv­er glyco­gen lev­els, while increas­ing mus­cle glyco­gen con­cen­tra­tion by 11–17%. That is, if you refuse break­fast, the avail­abil­i­ty of glyco­gen for mus­cle work decreas­es and the phys­i­cal per­for­mance of a per­son poten­tial­ly decreas­es.

Ide­al­ly, sci­en­tists say, you should have break­fast 1–4 hours before train­ing (unless, of course, it is not pos­si­ble to prac­tice in the evening).

Breakfast helps control weight

In Jan­u­ary 2020, data from Chi­nese sci­en­tists were pub­lished in the jour­nal Obe­si­ty Research & Clin­i­cal Prac­tice, accord­ing to which peo­ple who refuse break­fast are 1.48 times more like­ly to be over­weight and 1.31 times more like­ly to suf­fer from abdom­i­nal obe­si­ty.

Breakfast reduces the incidence of diabetes

Stud­ies show that in the morn­ing peo­ple are more like­ly to eat so-called break­fast cere­als, which con­tain more fiber. And eat­ing fiber-rich foods improves blood sug­ar con­trol and reduces the chance of it drop­ping too much between meals. That is, it reduces the risk of type 2 dia­betes. Accord­ing to data pub­lished in the jour­nal Pub­lic Health Nutri­tion in 2015, those who skip break­fast are 21% more like­ly to devel­op type 2 dia­betes.

A 2006 study pub­lished in the Euro­pean Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion also showed that even in peo­ple already diag­nosed with type 2 dia­betes, low-glycemic load break­fasts (and fiber is what helps low­er the glycemic index of foods) improve blood sug­ar con­trol. blood sug­ar, fat­ty acid con­cen­tra­tion and insulin pro­duc­tion.

Breakfast reduces heart risk

Accord­ing to a 2020 arti­cle in the jour­nal Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion: reg­u­lar­ly skip­ping break­fast increas­es the like­li­hood of heart and vas­cu­lar dis­eases by 1.22 times.

This find­ing sup­ports data released by Japan­ese sci­en­tists in a 2019 arti­cle in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Car­di­ol­o­gy, which report­ed that skip­ping break­fast was asso­ci­at­ed with an increased risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

In the same year and in the same jour­nal in April, anoth­er arti­cle on the same top­ic was pub­lished by Amer­i­can and Chi­nese researchers who claimed that peo­ple who nev­er had break­fast were 1.87 times more like­ly to die from car­dio­vas­cu­lar patholo­gies than those who start their day with break­fast.

Breakfast reduces the risk of premature death

Breakfast reduces the risk of premature death

The 2020 Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion study we already men­tioned also states that skip­ping break­fast is 1.25 times more like­ly to die pre­ma­ture­ly. Not sur­pris­ing, con­sid­er­ing every­thing we’ve said so far.

What is the best breakfast?

So, what should be includ­ed in break­fast, which will lead to all the above effects?

  • Whole grain prod­ucts.
  • Fruits and/or veg­eta­bles.
  • Dairy prod­ucts with a medi­um or reduced fat con­tent.


  • Refusal of break­fast will not help to lose weight, on the con­trary, it will com­pli­cate this process.
  • Skip­ping break­fast neg­a­tive­ly affects heart health and increas­es the risk of dia­betes and obe­si­ty.
  • That is, break­fast is def­i­nite­ly health­i­er than skip­ping the morn­ing meal. Bet­ter yet, com­bine your dai­ly break­fast with reg­u­lar exer­cise. Break­fast is espe­cial­ly use­ful if you train in the morn­ing.

The effect of break­fast on appetite reg­u­la­tion, ener­gy bal­ance and exer­cise per­for­mance. / Clay­ton DJ, James LJ. // Proc Nutr Soc. - 2016 Aug - 75(3):319–27

Asso­ci­a­tion of Skip­ping Break­fast With Car­dio­vas­cu­lar and All-Cause Mor­tal­i­ty. / Rong S, et al. // J Am Call Car­di­ol. - 2019 Apr 30 - 73(16):2025–2032

Asso­ci­a­tion between skip­ping break­fast and risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and all cause mor­tal­i­ty: A meta-analy­sis. / Chen H, et al. // Clin­ic Nutr. - Oct 2020 - 39(10):2982–2988

Skip­ping break­fast is asso­ci­at­ed with over­weight and obe­si­ty: A sys­tem­at­ic review and meta-analy­sis. / MaX, et al. // Obes Res Clin Pract. - Jan-Feb 2020 - 14(1):1–8

Break­fast skip­ping and the risk of type 2 dia­betes: a meta-analy­sis of obser­va­tion­al stud­ies. / BiH, et al. // Pub­lic Health Nutri­tion - Nov 2015 - 18(16):3013–9

Break­fast fre­quen­cy and qual­i­ty may affect glycemia and appetite in adults and chil­dren. / Pereira M.A., et al. // J Nutr. - 2011 Jan - 141(1):163–8

Effects of break­fast meal com­po­si­tion on sec­ond meal meta­bol­ic respons­es in adults with Type 2 dia­betes mel­li­tus. / Clark C.A., et al. // Eur J Clin­ic Nutr. - 2006 Sep - 60(9):1122–9


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