Whenever she visits Southeast Asian countries for work or conferences, Lovelli always samples the local breakfast meals.
Breakfast Lost Its Magic
You have long sensed it coming. People no longer eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, or dinner like a pauper. Lately, skipping breakfast is an increasingly popular option to fit our busy schedules. When your only choices are limited to high-carb, processed foods loaded with extra sugar and extra calories, “no breakfast” seems like a good decision.
As a former breakfast-eater, I cannot tell you how often I have had breakfast and failed to enjoy it. Having my morning meals religiously every day for years has taught me the bad habit of eating when I’m not hungry. It has also taught me to settle for things that I do not like, such as artificial-looking cereals, bland toasts, and whatever else that was sold on the way to work.
Discussions don't happen during breakfast, only rarely at lunches and sometimes dinners. Business breakfasts simply do not work. Everything about breakfast foods is either ridiculously cheap or ridiculously overpriced. There is no between.
A Good, Healthy Breakfast or a Worn-Out Challenge?
The working economy has "working breakfast" in silence, the college students have "college breakfast" in a rush, the commuters take their "one-hand breakfast" on-the-go. We are seeing the many faces of breakfast as our present-day morning habits continue to evolve. Things are changing. What used to be the ideal good, healthy breakfast meal is now no more than a challenge for the food lovers.
1. Not that important after all
It used to be common knowledge that breakfast is the single most important meal of the day. In recent years, however, research studies have suggested that in fact it isn't! It also turns out that if you skipped your morning meals, you probably wouldn't gain weight from overeating the rest of the day.
People who are breakfast-eaters and non-breakfast eaters were experiencing no differences in weight change or their overall health outcomes. Skipping breakfast did not make people fat. Furthermore, the recent findings from available studies on breakfast simply do not support its utmost importance.
2. The growing 'breakfast foods' market
Many companies would like us to believe that breakfast is more important than most people think. Large food companies are interested in profiting from the growing market of breakfast meals. And not just from their on-the-go breakfast products, but from convincing us to eat breakfast foods at other times of the day. They are delivering "value-added, enriched foods", which are more often than not synonymous to overpriced, processed breakfast foods.
Some companies have successfully tapped into the growing breakfast market: Kellog's all-day cereal bar, all-day breakfast menu at Jack in the Box and recently McDonald's, as well as breakfast restaurants like Au Bon Pain and Cracker Barrel. Aside from these marketing campaigns, we still have the rising frozen breakfast food products market.. and Asia Pacific, which was predicted to be growing faster between 2018 and 2023.
3. Break the fast at better times
Weight-loss dieting styles are promoting a different take on when to eat our healthy meals. Instead of the traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner meals and snack bites, weight watchers are getting familiar with the concept of time-restricted eating. The idea is to fast for several hours, for example for 16 hours in the 16:8 Leangains fasting, and then consume all the necessary calories within the following 8-hour window. Instead of breaking our fast at the wee hours of the morning, our evolving dieting styles now have us eating for several hours of the day, as deemed necessary.
For the 16:8 fasting method, this means skipping breakfast, but for other types of fasting, such as the Eat Stop Eat and the Warrior Diet, people are skipping even more meals. Mornings are no longer the ideal time to break the fast. Some diets eliminate it altogether. The Two Meal Day, for example, suggests that you only eat two meals a day, either breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, in order to burn fat more easily.
If you'd like to learn more about breakfast and weight-loss dieting styles, these articles could be useful:
- Breakfast in Southeast Asia: What Does It Look Like?
- 10 Weight-Loss Dieting Styles That Have Helped Us Get in Shape
Conclusion: With or Without Breakfast?
Breakfast foods have only been around since the 1800s. Prior to that, our morning meals were no more special than lunch and dinner. All our meals kind of looked the same; there were no breakfast foods that you can only eat between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. But that was then and this is 2018.
Here are some of the ways people deal with breakfast:
1. Delay it - have later breakfast and early dinner
Along with time-restricted eating comes the concept of eating at the right time of day to help boost our fat burning efforts. A new report based on a 10-week study led by the University of Surrey suggests that people delay their breakfast and have early dinner to help them with weight-loss dieting. The study finds that by delaying breakfast by 90 minutes coupled with early dinner, people were burning twice as much body fat.
2. Skip it - break your fast at other times
As discussed in earlier paragraphs, not having breakfast is thought to help with some weight-loss diets.
3. Have it - a healthy breakfast
The World Health Organization recently updated its guide on what a healthy diet should look like, and breakfast should not be an exception. Stick to a diverse and balanced diet to prevent malnutrition and try to consume less than 10 percent of total energy intake--equivalent to 50 grams (about 12 teaspoons) of sugar. Especially for breakfast, make sure to stick with the recommended intake when consuming your fruit juices, morning drinks, syrups, and other sweet breakfast foods.
Sources and Further Reading
- (2018) Breakfast Food Market - Growth, Trends and Forecast (2018 - 2023). Mordor Intelligence.
- Charles Spence. (2017) Breakfast: The most important meal of the day?. International Journal of Gastronomy and Science Vol: 8. Science Direct.
- Jason Fung, MD. (2018) Intermittent fasting for beginners. Diet Doctor.
- Aaron E. Carroll. (2016) Sorry, There’s Nothing Magical About Breakfast. The New York Times.
- Amanda Macmillan. (2017) Here's What Skipping Breakfast Does to Your Body. Time Health.
- Alexandra Sifferlin. (2015) 5 Fascinating Facts About Breakfast. Time Health.
- Petter Olivia. (2018) Eating a later breakfast and an earlier dinner doubles fat loss, study claims. The Independent.
- Healthy diet. (2018) World Health Organization.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2018 Lovelli Fuad
Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on November 11, 2018:
My wife and I have taken to having "brunch" rather than breakfast and lunch. Around 10:00 or so, we will have something eat; it may be a good breakfast or it may be a lunch. It works better in our time schedule and we've learned to like it.