Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

It depends. The effect of breakfast seems to depend very much on whether having breakfast is part of one's food culture or not. Generally it is better to slay with the practice one is used to. In the mid-1950s an American investigator named Tuttle found that people who had not had breakfast did not perform as well during the morning on certain manipulative (dexterity) and mental tasks as those who had. More recent work, however, has shown that this is not always the case.

In some cultures only one or only two meals a day are eaten, and the timing of these can vary. Work and sleep patterns probably influence eating patterns more than the reverse. However, early afternoon sleepiness occurs in many cultures, although it is not yet known the extent to which this is connected with midday eating.

Whether one has breakfast may well influence eating behaviour later in the day. For example, work in Melbourne, Australia, indicates that children who do not have breakfast are more likely than others to want to eat during the morning, and then the food available is critical - if it is only confectionery or soft drinks, this is what they will have. On the other hand, an office worker who has only coffee for breakfast may eat a nutritionally useful mid-morning snack, or be so occupied until lunchtime that the lack of breakfast does not affect the food they choose when they do eat. Many people say they simply do not feel like eating breakfast. We need to know more about the connections between eating patterns and long-term health. In the meantime, if someone finds that by having breakfast they are less hungry later, and more likely to make wise food choices, then it would seem worth having breakfast.

On the question of exercise (energy expenditure) and breakfast, many-people find it more comfortable to exercise before eating. In addition, exercising early in the day may increase the rate at which we use energy throughout the day, but it is arguable just how important this might be in energy balance.