Look no further than Parks and Rec icon Ron Swanson to get a good idea of how important breakfast is in the U.S.
Recent data is in line with the fictional character’s food preference; sales for breakfast items are passing those for lunch and dinner, and multiple fast food stops like McDonald’s are planning to soon offer breakfast 24/7.
So, here are four things you didn’t know you wanted to know about the ‘most important meal of your day’:
It’s probably not, in fact, the most important meal of the day.
Back in June 2014, two studies refuted the commonly held beliefs that breakfast had a boon of health benefits. Prior studies associated eating breakfast with lower body weight, and breakfast continues to be recommended as a way to kick off the day with a healthy metabolism.
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, however, found that skipping breakfast didn’t have any notable effect on weight loss efforts in a 16-week study of obese and overweight participants. A similar study saw no metabolic improvement associated with breakfast.
“The general question about whether breakfast is ‘the most important meal of the day’ is not grounded in scientific data but more of an old saying,” said James A. Betts of the University of Bath, author of the second study.
Having said that, researchers believe that not eating in the morning may lead to overeating at night, leading to metabolic changes or heart disease. So if you’re hungry in the morning, it’s always a good idea to eat regardless.
While a sugary treat may not be ideal to sustain you for the day, some research suggests eating a little something sweet in the morning can help curb sweet tooth cravings later on. A 2012 study found that people who were eating a low calorie diet and a healthy breakfast, along with a dessert, had better weight loss results. The dessert results in fewer cravings and feeling less hungry throughout the day.
If you’re watching your diet the majority of the time, treating yourself to a morning pasty isn’t a bad thing.
Yogurt for breakfast is a very recent phenomenon in the U.S.
Yogurt’s first bump in popularity was in the 80’s, just in time for the low-fat diet craze. The astronomical rise of Greek yogurt is even more recent. Fage, a popular Greek yogurt company based in Greece began distributing in the U.S. in 1998. In 2007, they made up 1% of the U.S.’s yogurt market; today, they make up over half of dollar sales in the yogurt category.
Fiber and protein are the most important factors in a healthy breakfast.
The Mayo Clinic recommends eating a breakfast made up of either whole grains, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables. To get the most vitamins and minerals to start the day, foods like oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, or smoothies will keep you energized.