One of the most well-worn phrases in the arsenal of tired parents everywhere is that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But there’s widespread disagreement over whether breakfast should keep its top spot in the hierarchy of meals.

Today’s nutrition guidelines recommend that we eat breakfast, yet about 1 in 4 Americans choose to skip it.

Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to be healthier, but these studies can’t prove that the breakfast itself caused it. Chances are healthy breakfast eaters have other healthy lifestyle habits, but Kristen Kirkpatrick explains that “the biggest mistake people make is having foods that has absolutely no nutritional values.”

Also, some people claim that eating breakfast “kick-starts” the metabolism, but this is a myth. What does matter for metabolism is the total amount of food consumed throughout the day and it makes no difference at which times, or how often, you eat.

“What I like to do is try to recommend equivalent meals throughout the day,” said Tara Collingwood, registered dietitian.

A recent study out of the British Journal of Nutrition concludes that it makes no difference whether people eat or skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast makes you eat more at lunch, but not enough to compensate for the breakfast you skipped.

Does eating breakfast kick-start your day mentally? A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared two groups. One who ate breakfast, one who didn’t. After two days, there was no difference between vigilance, reaction time, learning or memory.

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