- If you skip breakfast every day, you could be missing out on several essential nutrients.
- Foods commonly eaten for breakfast are usually not eaten at other times of the day. This can lead to under-consumption of the nutrients they contain.
- Additionally, people who skip breakfast tend to snack more, especially on sugars, carbohydrates, and fat.
- Experts say it’s important to start your day with good nutritional choices no matter what you eat.
Skipping breakfast can be an easy habit, whether for convenience or in order to cut calories.
However, a new study Ohio State University researchers show that skipping breakfast regularly can be a bad idea.
In fact, you may be missing out on several essential nutrients that you won’t make up for later in the day.
The team took data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an ongoing annual survey that seeks to capture a snapshot of the health and nutritional status of Americans.
The sample used for this study included 30,889 adults aged 19 and older who had participated in NHANES between 2005 and 2016.
To determine who skipped breakfast, they looked at the 24-hour dietary recalls that survey participants completed.
They then calculated the nutrient content of what the breakfast captains reported consuming.
They found that people who skipped breakfast tended to have a very different nutritional profile than those who ate a morning meal.
When it comes to several key nutrients the team looked at – like fiber, magnesium, copper, and zinc – breakfast skippers also took in less than breakfast eaters.
Additionally, the greatest differences in consumption were found in folate, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D.
Additionally, people who skip breakfast tend to eat poorer quality diets due to more snacking, especially sugars, carbohydrates, and fats.
At first glance, it may seem like people might just make up for their breakfast by eating other foods later in the day. But research shows that this is generally not the case.
The main author of the study, Christophe taylor, PhD, RDN, LD, FAND, associate professor of medical dietetics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, described the breakfast as a “one-time meal opportunity.”
According to Taylor, foods that are commonly eaten in a typical American breakfast – like cereals, milk, fruit, and cereals – are less likely to be eaten at other times of the day.
These foods naturally contain nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorus, and fiber.
In addition, many of these foods are fortified with important nutrients, he said. Refined grains contain iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Dairy products have added vitamins A and D.
Fortification of certain foods is important, Taylor explained, because it adds back nutrients that are lost in the refining process.
Because these foods tend to be unique to breakfast, Taylor said the nutrients they contain are less likely to be consumed in other meals.
While Taylor and her team focus on foods such as fortified cereals and dairy products, Dr Michelle Pearlman, gastroenterologist and obesity medicine expert at the University of Miami Health System, is suspicious. The study was funded by the National Dairy Association Mideast, so it is possible that this sponsorship led to bias in the interpretation of the data.
“While it’s common to have breakfast cereals, cow’s milk, and yogurt for breakfast,” Pearlman said, “there are many other foods like fruits, vegetables, grains. whole and non-dairy milk which contain nutrients similar to those provided by dairy products / beverages.
She further noted that when you eat your first meal of the day is not as important as whether you are making the right choices in the foods you eat. She recommends listening to your hunger cues and eating when you are hungry.
When it comes to what you eat, she said some great breakfast options are “solid” foods that will keep you fuller for longer. Foods that contain fiber and protein slow digestion and prevent spikes in blood sugar, she explained, helping you feel full until your next meal.
She recommends eating whole fruit rather than drinking juice in order to get more fiber and less sugar.
Finally, she recommends lean, unprocessed meats as a source of protein over ham or bacon, which have been linked to certain cancers and are high in sodium.