If you didn’t know it by now, you should understand that skipping breakfast is perhaps the worst diet decision you can make. And that’s just the beginning of the day. It may seem like a waste of time considering you have just woken up refreshed, but the breakfast is key in making you feel energetic and happy throughout the day.
But a new study actually suggests that while one breakfast is good, two breakfasts may not be all that bad. In the US, the concern is that school-mandated breakfasts mean kids are eating twice the amount of food to start off the day. With the rising number of obese children, this is a valid concern. So researchers decided to see if there’s any merit in the argument.
Marlene Schwartz, of the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity says that children who indulge twice are less likely to become overweight than those who skip the brekkie. “Our study does add to the argument that it’s really important to make sure that as many kids as possible are getting a healthy breakfast,” Schwartz is quoted as saying in this article in the Washington Post.
The study appeared in the journal Pediatric Obesity, with objectives stated as identifying “breakfast location patterns (frequency and place of breakfast consumption) and explore the association between breakfast patterns and weight status over time among preadolescents.”
Surveys and physical measurements were completed among students – from fifth grade to seventh grade – from 12 random schools. Latent transition analysis and longitudinal analyses were used to determine the physical characteristics of these middle-schoolers. “Six distinct breakfast location patterns emerged at baseline (1) frequent skippers; (2) inconsistent school eaters; (3) inconsistent home eaters; (4) regular home eaters; (5) regular school eaters and (6) double breakfast eaters,” the paper says.
One in every 10 students was used to having two breakfasts, but the change in their weights over the years was no different than the average weight change of all students, the study found. “Especially in low-income communities, having universal access to healthy breakfasts is helpful,” the published article adds.
Breakfast-skippers, Schwartz’s team found were the most susceptible to weight gain. They were twice as likely to be overweight or more obese than double-breakfast eaters – with girls being the majority of breakfast skippers.
Schwartz team was not able to pin-point the exact reason for this, but offered a simple – perhaps, simplistic – theory: Those who skip breakfast become so hungry that they eat more later. Or their indulging in unhealthy foods offsets the skipped meal. Another hypothesis was that the overweight skipped breakfasts anyway to control their weight.
But it’s not about indulging all your cravings at breakfast. There still must be some semblance of balance and nutrition. “School breakfasts are very healthy. It’s fruit and low-fat dairy and whole grains. So you could almost think of it as a healthy snack.”
But Schwartz does say in conclusion that “Additional research is needed to understand the impact of universal school breakfast on students’ overall diets.”
Main Image: Avid Hills | CC BY 2.0 Generic