Breakfast May Not Be As Crucial As We Think

Is breakfast the key to good health? Probably not

It's 7:57, and you're on the verge of being late and haven't eaten breakfast yet. Will your metabolism and brainpower be shot for the day if you don't scarf down a bowl of Cheerios or power up with a piece of toast?

General conventional wisdom and articles written about various studies have long pointed to yes. Even the Mayo Clinic's website draws a loose line between breakfast consumption and weight loss. But Aaron E. Carroll, a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, explains on The Upshot today that this may not be the case after all. "As with many other nutritional pieces of advice, our belief in the power of breakfast is based on misinterpreted research and biased studies," he writes.

One often-cited study says that a cereal (hot or cold) is linked to having a lower body mass index, or BMI. But as Carroll points out, Kellogg's funded that study. There are a few other randomized studies on the issue, but those that do exist don't support the typical claim of breakfast as the silver bullet.

So the short answer to whether you should be late for that morning meeting on account of having your avocado toast: "If you're hungry, eat it. But don't feel bad if you'd rather skip it, and don't listen to those who lecture you. Breakfast has no mystical powers."

And, as John Oliver points out, let's take studies with a grain of salt: