Tempest over breakfast
March 7, 1996
Web posted at: 4:00 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Eugenia Halsey
(CNN) -- Dr. Arthur Frank leans forward, his left brow cockeyed: "Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day."
He adds, "Don't waste calories on meals that you really don't need, don't want and are often made uncomfortable by."
Call it the breakfast brouhaha. The George Washington University doctor says it's a myth that people need breakfast. And his beliefs are cooking up a heaping helping of mixed emotions across the nation.
Frank's position on breakfast was first cited in a commentary in The Washington Post and then repeated on National Public Radio. His no-breakfast motto has made many health experts boiling mad.
"Eat your breakfast. It's very good for you," says Dr. Pamela Peeke.
Peeke is an obesity specialist and researcher at the National Institutes of Health. She says people who routinely skip breakfast and lunch eat more for dinner, thereby taking in a large caloric load all at once. (141K AIFF sound or 141K WAV sound)
The tempest over breakfast has been raging like a boiling pot of oatmeal for a month. It all began with a breakfast study last month by the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The group said breakfast portions at many restaurants are so huge that people can wolf down an entire day's worth of fat and calories in their first meal of the day.
"The truth is, most adults would be better off skipping breakfast," the consumer group's Michael Jacobson said. (88K AIFF sound or 88K WAV sound)
However, Frank went even further. He said not only are big breakfasts bad, but there's no need for the meal.
Much of the nutrition community has found Frank's views hard to swallow.
The nutritionists say some studies clearly show why children need breakfast. Children who eat healthy breakfasts, says Eileen Kennedy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have "significantly better" test scores. (141K AIFF sound or 141K WAV sound)
Nutrition experts also say studies suggest that adults who skip breakfast tend to get less fiber in their diet.
So what's egging Dr. Frank on?
He says he's not advocating that all people skip breakfast. He just believes people shouldn't feel guilty if they do.
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