Prominent Turkish-American Dr. Mehmet Oz’s recent comment on cancelling breakfast because it is not needed has ignited discussion in the medical community.
“The smartest thing for us to do is cancel breakfast, have your first meal when you’re actually hungry,” Oz said during an interview with celebrity news website TMZ.
His advice came amid a growing trend in dieting centered around intermittent fasting in which practitioners abstain from eating for a period of time each day, usually between 14 to 16 hours. Other methods include abstaining from food altogether or keeping intake to a few hundred calories, for two days per week.
Famous Turkish nutrition and diet specialist Dr. Ender Sarac said a good breakfast should be the most important meal as it balances blood sugar.
Sarac agreed with Oz that people should eat once they feel hungry, having it as their first meal, “but if they have a full stomach, they can have their breakfast later,” he added.
He also warned that having breakfast too late can delay other meals, and that can cause a full feeling when one wakes up in the morning.
“Having breakfast which is high in glycemic index and saturated fat such as steatopygic, hyper-saline, cake, pastry, white bread, toasted and fried food bring harm instead of benefit because this causes to get fat in belly and waist area,” he said.
Comparing Turkish and American breakfast habits, Sarac said: “Unlike Turks, Americans do not consume lemon and olive oil on greens, local light quality cheese, natural cucumber and tomatoes which surprises them when they see in breakfast.
“They eat pretzel, which is completely made of white flour and abundant yeast, as well as bacon, very sugary doughnuts and cereals.”
He added that there are also differences in beverage culture in breakfast. For instance Turks drink traditional tea which is a good antioxidant, but Americans drink coffee that is very brewed, rich in glucose sugar and creamy, which includes preservatives.
Sarac said drinking Turkish coffee without sugar after breakfast helps digesting breakfast.
He believes a proper breakfast is a source of happiness, but every nation a has different culture.
Although there is an ongoing discussion, it is a reality that breakfast is the most important meal, says gastroenterologist Vedat Goral at Medipol University Hospital in Istanbul.
“Our body continues to spend energy for growth and repair, even while we sleep. The necessity of having breakfast undeniable due to replacing the energy we spend at nights, to prepare our metabolism for the day, to ensure the digestive system works regularly and to provide a balanced calorie gain during the day,” he said.
According to Goral, breakfast is important for people from all walks of life, but the calorie amount in breakfast depends on individuals’ breakfast type and hours.
Prof. Bilal Boztosun, head of the cardiology department at Medipol University Hospital, drew attention to breakfast for heart health.
Boztosun said a balanced and proper breakfast is important for the body and we do not recommend heart patients to starve for a long time.
“The content of breakfast, which means what you eat, is more important than breakfast itself. Processed and abundant fatty meats, frozen foods, fat delicatessen products and packaged foods containing high sugar are extremely harmful. These products shouldn’t be consumed not only at breakfast but at any meal of the day,” he said.
Working in the same hospital, dietitian Gizem Gencyurek also believes breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Gencyurek said starting to work without having breakfast causes fatigue, decreased motivation, irritability and deficiency in performance.
Breakfast is especially important for children, elders and patients who use medicine, she said.
“According to some sources in the U.S., researches show that overweight and obese people do not consistently have breakfast,” she added.
All experts interviewed agreed that proper breakfast should be a balanced, light meal in carbohydrates, fat and protein.