PARENTS

Forcing Kids To Eat Breakfast Is 'Child Abuse,' Says Scientist

05/04/2017 03:41 EDT | Updated 05/04/2017 03:41 EDT

We all might have been trained to get out of bed and eat a nutritious breakfast, but one biochemist thinks the practice is hurting us and our kids.

Terence Kealey, a professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Buckingham in the U.K. and the author of Breakfast Is A Dangerous Meal thinks breakfast should be something children decide if they want for themselves.

According to the Daily Mail, in an appearance at the Oxford Literary Festival, he said, "Lots of kids don’t want to eat breakfast... If you’re worried, give them an apple or something, but the idea that you should force them to eat breakfast is a form of child abuse."

kid and sad and breakfast

His words might be designed to get attention (it worked, didn't it?), but his reasoning is based on science. It basically follows the logic that since the body generally has high levels of cortisol in the morning, and cortisol is resistant to insulin, our blood sugar levels rise after breakfast and stay that way all day. His advice? Have an early lunch instead.

NOT BUYING IT? Check out these easy overnight breakfast recipes for kids.

This runs directly counter to the conventional wisdom, which is that breakfast fills you up and keeps you from snacking throughout the day. As nutrition coach John Berardi wrote in HuffPost (in a blog entitled "Breakfast: Not The Most Important Meal Of The Day," no less), breakfast has been found to lead to decreased overall appetite, decreased overall food consumption, decreased body weight, improved academic performance and improved blood sugar control.

Berardi also notes, however, that skipping breakfast could increase fat breakdown, increase the release of growth hormone, improve blood glucose control, improve cardiovascular function and decrease food intake.

We don't see anything there about paying better attention to your teacher, mind you.

Breakfast has been found to lead to decreased overall appetite, decreased overall food consumption, decreased body weight, improved academic performance and improved blood sugar control.

But if getting food into your kids in the morning is a battle you're more than happy to relinquish, this is a guilt-free way to let it go.

And meanwhile Kealey even has some specific recommendations for what to feed them from a biochemist point of view in an excerpt from his book that ran in The Spectator:

"What of people who say they cannot function without breakfast? Well, they should be encouraged to eat carbohydrate-free in the mornings. So eggs or Greek yoghurt or strawberries and cream (there is surprisingly little sugar in many berries) or cheese eaten on chicory or lettuce will do little harm."