Breakfast Myths

Sometimes all you want for breakfast is a cup of coffee– and that’s ok

Everyone knows:  Always   eat Breakfast

There   are   a lot   of   variations   of   this   axiom.

“Breakfast   is   the   most   important   meal   of   the day.”

“Breakfast makes it so you won’t be hungry later.”

“Breakfast jump starts your metabolism”

“You need to eat a large breakfast”


All of those are FALSE.

Breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day- so don’t force it. The reality is that most people are not ready to eat breakfast when they first wake up.  So why does “everyone” say this? Some of this data was based on the Iowa Breakfast study- which was more than a single paper- but a group of observations made over a number of years and published. There have been a number of other studies showing that kids who eat breakfast do better in school than kids who do not. However, there are a lot of variables not accounted for in those studies.

In addition- a few other items were not taken into account: if you wake up at 4 am to do chores until 7 am, then have breakfast and go to school, you will do better in school than someone who wakes up at 4 am, does chores and doesn’t get breakfast.

Regarding most breakfast studies — funded by, and poor research  done, from cereal companies. Doesn’t mean they are bad studies- but they all fall into poor categories of evidenced based research.

“Breakfast makes it so you won’t be hungry later.”

A recent study showed that people who eat a large breakfast are not affected by how much they eat later in the day. Meaning that eating a large breakfast won’t keep you from snacking, or eating less the rest of the day.

You wonder where people come up with this idea– but when it is put to the scientific test- the breakfast you consume does not reduce food you consume later. Not one bit. No relation- no correlation.

Breafast buffet is not your friend

“Breakfast jump starts your metabolism”

They also found that eating less in the morning contributed to overall weight loss (if you eat less calories you will lose more weight).  There is a simple truth about weight loss – if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat big breakfasts and lots of other calories you will gain weight.  Breakfast does not jump start your metabolism- your body does that.

Again- how would you measure a “jump start” to metabolism? There are ways- but activity itself increases heart rate, breathing, and over all muscle activity. If you take comatose patients and measure their oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production- and cycle feeds – the feeds do not increase metabolism. Another study took college football players and put them into a hospital and fed them. They were allowed to do a few walks- but not much more.  It was activity that increased metabolism- not food. Any food will increase some metabolism – but a breaking of the fast does NOT do any sort of jump start.

“You need to eat a large breakfast”

Want to just have a smoothie or yogurt or some oatmeal to start your day? Go ahead. You want to wait for a couple of hours after you get up before having something to eat- that works too. But if you eat a large breakfast – you still need to work off those calories.

You think this is an important meal?

The great thing about breakfast foods: You can eat them anytime! Who doesn’t like eggs for dinner? And after a long day- nothing is more refreshing than a blueberry smoothie to take the edge off hunger, and let you relax for a bit.  We have recipes for smoothies containing micronutrients, fibers, and supplements – a simple smoothie can be a pleasant treat after a long day of work, taking the edge off hunger so you can make a great dinner.

For the smoothie and other recipes go to



Since most individuals find this hard to believe, here are some studies that help show what modern research shows us:


Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb;93(2):284-91. Epub 2010 Nov 17. Pub Med ID # 21084650

This study showed “there was no significant main effect of breakfast condition on energy intake at lunch (P = 0.36) or throughout the remainder of the day (P = 0.85). There was a significant main effect of breakfast condition (P = 0.04) on total daily energy intake, which indicated that on the day when the subjects did not eat breakfast, they consumed 362 fewer calories over the course of the day than when they did eat breakfast. On the day when no breakfast was served, subjects indicated that they were significantly hungrier, less full, and could consume more food before lunch than on the day when they did eat breakfast (P < 0.001). Leading to the conclusion that omitting breakfast affected children’s appetite ratings but not their energy intake at subsequent meals. The dissonance between children’s subjective ratings of prospective consumption and their actual intake should be further examined.”  Proving – less intake means less calories consumed in the day.

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2012 Jan;33(1):9-16. Pub Med ID # 22218013

This study concluded that “among children who regularly consume breakfast, skipping breakfast once significantly decreased their perceived level of energy and cheerfulness, but it did not affect their cognitive performance throughout the morning.” 

Nutr J. 2011 Jan 17;10:5. Pub Med ID # 21241165

This study showed that consuming a larger breakfast is associated with higher calories overall that need to be burned. They state: “Reduced breakfast energy intake is associated with lower total daily intake. The influence of the ratio of breakfast to overall energy intake largely depends on the post-breakfast rather than breakfast intake pattern. Therefore, overweight and obese subjects should consider the reduction of breakfast calories as a simple option to improve their daily energy balance.”

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, then became a renowned weight loss surgeon, and a leading advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he advocates teaching people to improve their health through their food. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcom Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit


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