Your mom (and the advertisers selling cereal) may have told you that breakfast is the most important meal, but are you one of the 31 million American bad boys who skips it every day? If so, you may want to reconsider and get back onboard with meal numero uno of the day. A new study from researchers at Yale and the University of Connecticut found that eating two breakfasts is better than eating none. Rejoice, gluttons, and break out the syrup!
The study in Pediatric Obesity followed 600 middle school students from fifth to seventh grade, tracking whether they ate one breakfast, two breakfasts, or no breakfast at all, and whether they ate the morning meal at home, at school, or both. It turns out that kids who didn't eat breakfast or ate it rarely were most likely to be overweight or obese—twice as likely as kids who polished off two meals before lunch.
The study looked at adolescents during a period of their lives when they grow like weeds, so the researchers make no claims about the relationship between breakfast and obesity in adults. But their hypothesis as to why kids who didn't eat breakfast gained weight would make sense for adults who don't eat breakfast, too: They suspect that kids who skip breakfast may overeat later in the day. Also, in a bit of a chicken or the egg(s Benedict) scenario, they point out that people who are overweight may skip breakfast to cut down on calorie intake.
As more and more kids are eating free breakfast at school, some nutritionists worried that it might lead to weight gain if kids were to eat at home and at school. The study seems to dismiss the concern, though just about one in ten kids powered down two breakfasts regularly.
If you're a breakfast fanatic, this will come as awesome news, but it isn't an invitation to double down with pancakes and scrambled eggs. Unfortunately, the second breakfasts in question were pretty healthy affairs.
"It's not like these kids are eating two breakfasts of donuts," study author Marlene Schwartz told The Washington Post, zapping the spirit of celebration out of the room. "School breakfasts are very healthy. It's fruit and low-fat dairy and whole grains. So you could almost think of it as a healthy snack."
That sounds a lot healthier than what we snacked on during morning break in high school: something like a one-two punch of Gushers and Dunkaroos, the latter of which is only available in Canada these days. And speaking of the best sugary breakfast foods out there, you can now order boxes of Rice Krispies Treats cereal online via the Great White North, too. Hell, if we had it our way and they had kept Rice Krispies Treats Cereal stateside, no one would be skipping breakfast—everyone would be having seconds. Which is the smarter move, after all.