We’ve heard it countless times growing up; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now, while our guardians made sure that we sat down and ate a meal before heading off to school, things have certainly changed now that we’re all grown up. Admittedly, I’ve skipped breakfast more times than I’d like to admit.
While you and I may think that it’s not that big of a deal, a recent study has come out to say that skipping the morning meal could be stripping my body of vital nutrients.
Skipping Breakfast Makes You Lose Out On Nutrients
A study conducted by Ohio State University and published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society set out to examine how skipping a morning meal can affect an adult’s health.
For the study, the researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This survey had collected health information on a nationally representative population each year between 2005 and 2016, and it included the information of 30 889 adults aged 19 and older. The data consisted of interviews, physical exams, and laboratory tests.
Of the 30 889 adults, 4 924 adults admitted to skipping breakfast.
Breakfast skippers are missing out
The researchers found that people who opt not to eat in the mornings are missing out on vital nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and fiber.
“What we’re seeing is that if you don’t eat the foods that are commonly consumed at breakfast, you have a tendency not to eat them the rest of the day,” said senior author Christopher Taylor, PhD, RDN, LD, FAND, professor of medical dietetics at the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. “So those common breakfast nutrients become a nutritional gap.”
What’s more, the same nutrients that people are missing out on are deemed “dietary components of public health concern” for most Americans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest dietary guidelines. This is because inadequate consumption of these key nutrients is associated with health issues.
Gaining the wrong nutrients
The study also found that adults who skip breakfast end up eating more carbohydrates, sugars, saturated fat, and ate less fiber later in the day than people who ate breakfast.
Taylor added that “adding breakfast will address the relative gap in those ‘missed’ nutrients, but higher intakes at lunch and dinner, as well as the poor snacking, will need to be addressed as a big picture.”
Breakfast is the key to longevity
“At the root of our findings, we see that the simple habit of eating breakfast has the potential for beneficial nutrition impact,” said Stephanie Fanelli, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietician and co-author of the study at Ohio State University, to VeryWell.
“Breakfast provides an opportunity to consume nutrient-dense foods, not only helping you meet the recommended intake levels but also helps you improve your overall diet quality. Eating breakfast is a feasible strategy to improve your health.”
Get the most out of your breakfast
Eating a healthy and balanced breakfast can ensure that you go on to have a great and productive day. It’s also a great way to kick-start your health in the mornings. That said, here’s our formula for a good breakfast;
The formula for a great breakfast
- Protein: Protein will help to fuel your day, and it’ll also keep you satiated in the mornings.Great sources of protein in the mornings include eggs, milk, plain Greek yogurt, nuts, beans, and chicken mayo sandwiches. Even leftovers from the night before can provide a dose of protein in the mornings.
- Fiber: Fiber will help to kick-start your body’s metabolism. It’ll also improve your focus and energy for the day ahead. Porridge, whole-grain cereal, as well as fruits and vegetables are all part of a high-fiber diet.
- Fruits and vegetables: Rich in fiber and vital nutrients, fruits and vegetables are probably the best things you could have for breakfast. If you don’t want to eat them on their own, don’t shy away from adding them to your morning eggs, porridge, or even blending them into a smoothie.
Fanelli S, Walls C, Taylor C. (2021). Skipping breakfast is associated with nutrient gaps and poorer diet quality among adults in the United States. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 80(OCE1):E48. doi:10.1017/S0029665121000495