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Is Breakfast the Only Way to Start the Day?

November 6, 2016
Plain English Version
Free breakfasts as part of a promotion by Denny's. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Free breakfasts as part of a promotion by Denny’s. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

You should have breakfast. If you are hungry. If you are not hungry, there is no special health benefit to eating breakfast.

A scientist looked at many studies of the value of breakfast. He said most researchers found what they expected to find. The studies are often suspect because of who funded them. For example, a study funded by a cereal company is likely to show the health benefits of the morning meal. If a nutrition program funded the study, it usually found that breakfast is good for your health.

Some studies may use different standards. Different studies arrive at different conclusions. For example,  about whether breakfast leads to weight loss or gain.

Many of the studies do not use control groups. Control groups should include one group who has had breakfast. It should have another group who has not had breakfast. The groups have to be alike in other respects. The few studies that did have control groups did not find that breakfast made a difference in health.

It does not seem to matter if the people in the studies are children or adults.

It is easy to understand why cereal companies like breakfast. And we all know that nutritionists like three meals a day.

There is nothing wrong with a good breakfast. Who should have breakfast? First, people who are hungry in the morning. Also, children who come to school hungry should use school breakfast programs. It is much harder for children to learn on an empty stomach.

All in all the science on the importance of eating breakfast is weak. You should go with your appetite. Ignore the advice of others.

Source: The New York Times May 23, 2016

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