Breakfast is the most important meal…

I’m curious about how much we really know about that statement.  I must have read it in a hundred different places and also read that people who eat breakfast have healthy outcomes in terms of weight.  What I want to know is what do we know about what is necessary to achieve those outcomes? What constitutes breakfast? I can reframe the item as calories need to be consumed at some point with reference either to sleep or a period of time each day.  Let’s break that down further. How many calories do I need to consume? If I have sugar and milk in my coffee, does that satisfy the requirement? It is easy enough to figure that there is some higher amount that is sufficient. Some toast or cereal or something. There are some examples, say egg whites and bit of fruit, that seems to me wouldn’t necessarily get you over a hundred calories. If that turns out to be enough, where does it break down below that number or does it? Is it sufficient to have any calories (more than zero)? When do these calories have to be consumed? Is it based on my wake time? Is there a window at which I need to consume whatever the required calories are and if I miss that do I miss the benefit? Or is it based on some sort of body cycle/day where it is important to eat the calories at roughly the same time each day?  If either of these things are the case then wake time or time of day are critical to gaining the benefit. It certainly seems like there must be some limit because the phrase is all about a particular meal of the day so it isn’t good enough to say have eaten lunch. Are there definitive studies that address this?

Update 11/23 – and the internet gods respond:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1208051#t=articleResults

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