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VERIFY: Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Many studies do show benefits to eating a healthy breakfast but it's unclear if that's because the people in these studies are generally healthier.

DALLAS — Quick, what's the most important meal of the day? 

Breakfast, right?

That's what we've been hearing since we were kids. But is that true? That’s what Verify viewer Jehu Sarmiento asked in a video submission.

“My name is Jehu and I would like to get verified if breakfast is the most important meal of the day in order to see if it's safe for me to skip breakfast, especially if I'm in a hurry,” he asked.

For answers, I'm looking at research papers and talking to dietician Bridget McCormick at the Tom Landry Health and Wellness Center at Baylor Medical Center.

"Yes, it is safe to skip breakfast. It's more looking at long term health effects," she says.

OK, then… let's get to the bigger picture.

“Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?” I asked.

“Yeah, so the question is a lot harder than yes or no,” she answered.

Why is she saying that? 

Many studies do show benefits to eating a healthy breakfast. But it's not always clear if that's because the people in these studies are just healthier, to begin with. 

Still, the news about breakfast is generally positive.

Like this study, in the Journal of Nutrition. It looked at data from 50,000 people found making breakfast the biggest meal of the day -- while avoiding snacking throughout the day -- "may be effective methods of preventing long-term weight gain."

This study found men, who work in the health care field and regularly ate breakfast, had significantly lower risk of heart disease. 

This one looked at women who were irregular breakfast eaters and found a "significantly greater Type 2 Diabetes risk"

Pretty solid findings, right? Well…

“That's fantastic but that doesn't necessarily show a cause and effect,” McCormick said. 

“Breakfast eaters tend to be non-smokers, not drink as much alcohol, be more physically active or not eat really late at night so those can be factors that affect our health as well,” she added.

So, is breakfast the most important meal of the day? The answer to that question is unknown.

The big takeaway here is that breakfast doesn't live in a vacuum, outside of the rest of your diet. Still the research shows there may be some benefits to eating a healthy breakfast as long as it's part of an otherwise healthy lifestyle.

Got something you want verified?  Send me an email at david@verifytv.com.

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