Eating breakfast — even twice — is truly the healthier choice

Breakfast is food for the brain and for the rest of your body, note experts in children’s nutrition. And downing those morning calories are worth it, even for people concerned about their weight, a new study finds. Middle-school students who ate breakfast were more likely to have healthy weights than were those who skipped breakfast. This was true even for students who ate two breakfasts — one at home and one at school.

Earlier studies have shown this to be the case, says Diana Cutts. “The total calories taken in over 24 hours are less when you eat a good breakfast,” notes Cutts, who did not take part in the new study. A pediatrician, she works at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“Eating healthy in the morning is really what you need to have energy,” she says. “When you deprive yourself of eating breakfast, it’s not good for your body and not good for your brain.” It’s also “not good for the really complex biochemistry that we rely on,” she adds. Not eating in the morning upsets the rhythm of hormones and enzymes that keep our brains and bodies working well.

John Cook agrees. “I think breakfast might be the most important meal of the day,” says this researcher on childhood hunger. Cook works at Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts and with an organization called Children’s HealthWatch. “It’s very difficult for children to focus on school if they arrive without having breakfast,” he says. The ability of middle-school students to pay attention and behave really depends on stoking their engines with food early in the day.

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