As is the case with many major questions in nutrition, there are both breakfast defenders and breakfast naysayers out there. There is the oft repeated mantra that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," but most people don't know that the phrase was actually coined and perpetuated by lobbyists for cereal and bacon companies! However, there are also some empirical findings that support the idea that having breakfast is better for you than not. For example, one study found that eating breakfast appeared to lower one's risk of coronary heart disease, though dubious folks quickly pointed out that type of people most likely to eat breakfast may simply be the type to live a healthier lifestyle in general.Another study found that though breakfast-skippers ate less calories per day than breakfast-havers, they also had higher levels of inflammation and impaired glucose tolerance, giving them a much higher risk of diabetes. Meanwhile, other research found that people who ate breakfast were more active in the mornings as well as that those who skipped breakfast were likely to overcompensate calorie-wise later on in the day. However, a randomized trial in which one group was to told to eat breakfast and another were told to skip it found no discernible effect on their weight loss. On the other hand, a study that required its participants to restrict their daily eating to an 8 hour window, effectively eliminating "breakfast," produced substantial weight loss in its subjects.

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The 123Diet takes something of a middle view on breakfast by encouraging our dieters to eat a small portion of low-calorie fruit or vegetable in the morning instead of a heavy meal, so that your metabolism gets moving right away but your body still has time to burn plenty of calories from your fat stores before you refuel with something more substantial.

So though we do suggest that you have "breakfast", we're not here to be the breakfast police. If you want to give your body a larger "fasting window," you could have a small piece of fruit for breakfast as late in the morning as 11:30. You could even skip breakfast altogether in favor of an early "brunch" that incorporates fruit, veggies, and protein, as long as it's eaten before 12!

After moving on to the Phase 3 and maintenance portions of the diet, some of our dieters find that fruit is still a sufficient start to their day, while others find that a more substantial breakfast keeps them fuller, thus stopping them from falling into former bad eating habits.

In the end, it may be less important whether you eat breakfast than what you eat for breakfast. While a healthy breakfast could give you an important chance to fill up on important nutrients and get ahead of your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, a "bad" breakfast could tank your whole day!

One thing that is for sure is that definitely shouldn't have an unhealthy breakfast just for the sake of having had breakfast. If you're in a situation where your only option is a food as full of refined sugar and flour as a muffin or a bagel, it's probably better to skip!

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You should also take note that a healthy looking breakfast, like a protein bar or a flavored yogurt with granola, could secretly be loaded with added sugar. Better options include a hearty omelet with veggies (if you must add toast, make it whole grain), a homemade parfait made with plain low-fat yogurt and fruit, a fiber-packed oatmeal, or a smoothie made with healthy ingredients.

Also, as long as you're making healthy choices, there's no reason to limit your breakfasts to "breakfast food"; who's to stop you from starting your day with some low-calorie leftovers or a salad?

If you're planning on working out in the morning, it's probably best to fuel up beforehand or at the very least to eat something substantial afterwards. Beyond that, though, the answer to whether you should have breakfast regularly or not is entirely up to you!

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