When you tell the internet that breakfast isn’t magical, you better be ready for the backlash. Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, unwisely questioned the true importance of the most important meal of the day, writing a post for The New York Times in which he specifically writes, “Breakfast has no mystical powers.” Rather, this firmly held belief is apparently, “based on misinterpreted research and biased studies,” not fact, and the journal articles often cited as proof of breakfast’s dominance are flawed.
To be fair, Carroll kind of does have a point; breakfast studies aren’t exactly known for their scientific rigor, and yet, the takeaways somehow become conventional wisdom. Take, for example, the link between higher rates of obesity and skipping breakfast. Carroll points out that one of the most commonly referenced breakfast studies, which found that eating cereal was associated with being thin, was also sponsored by Kellogg's. And although there have been some scientifically rigorous studies that aren’t sponsored by breakfast giants, they’re few and far between. Those that do exist are usually "methodologically weak like most nutrition studies, [and] don’t support the necessity of breakfast.”
So, yes, the science may be a bit funky when it comes to the health benefits of eating a meal as soon as you wake up, but to say that that breakfast isn’t necessary—or even that it’s not magical—is ludicrous. Does Carroll know that communities are built around Waffle Houses? Has he ever had a bad day at work, then made himself pancakes for dinner because, why not, he’s an adult who’s in control of his life and can do what he wants? Has he ever bitten into an oozing bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich when he’s hungover on a Sunday morning and felt instantly better? If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
To be fair, Carroll doesn’t dislike breakfast in and of itself. “Given the choice of breakfast food or lunch food, I’d almost always choose eggs or waffles,” he clarifies. But what he doesn’t seem to understand is that breakfast is more than the meal you eat when you wake up. So if you’re hungry in the morning, eat something, and if not, don’t feel bad about it. It doesn’t mean you’re skipping breakfast.