For many people, breakfastoften referred to as The most important meal of the day, It is also the least exciting. Choices for the first meal of the day often reflect utilitarian needs.
The foods are usually simple, quick and easy to prepare and eat, and are valued for the calorie boost that revives the body and brain after a restful night.
That is why when people find a breakfast option they like, according to a recent scientific study, they stick with it day after day.
When researchers recently evaluated the daily eating habits of thousands of study subjects from the United States and France, they saw that people repeatedly ate the same thing for breakfast, and they were happy to do so.
Compared, when those people sat down for lunch or dinner, they expected more variety and wanted a more pleasurable experience from their meals.
Why were those people satisfied with eating the same breakfast every morning?
The scientists suggested that psychological, biological, and cultural drivers shape our expectations for meals, and those factors and our enthusiasm for eating differ by time of day.
Cadario and Morewedge examined previous studies and identified two goals that govern food choices: utilitarian, in which convenience is paramount, and hedonic, in which pleasure is more important (Getty Images)
Throughout the day and night, our bodies continue Cardiac rhtyms. Almost all life forms adhere to these 24-hour cycles, which govern physical, mental and behavioral changes.
For example, a typical human sleep schedule follows circadian rhythms related to light. Tens of thousands of neurons in the brain regulate this so-called biological clock so that we feel sleepy at night when it is dark and more alert when the sun rises during the day, according to the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences.
circadian rhythms they also affect our feeding schedules, and other scientists have previously investigated the links between circadian rhythms and changes in the size and variety of meals people eat throughout the day, according to a study published in the January 2022 issue of the journal Appetite.
For this research, the scientists questioned whether psychological factors related to circadian rhythms could also influence what people ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Those questions also interested the researchers because of their own breakfast habits, said the study’s lead author, roman cadariowho also works as an assistant professor at the Rotterdam School of Management on the Erasmus University in the Netherlands.
“I am a person frenchas usual I’m looking for a lot of variety in the things I eat; this is something that the French gastronomic society values”, warned Cadario.
“At the same time, I ate the same breakfast every day. So my co-author and I we started talking about that pattern of behavior.” As the scientist admitted in dialogue with WordsSideKick.com, his typical breakfast is a cup of coffee and a piece of toast.
Study co-author, tortoiseshell morewedge, teacher in Questrom School of Business from boston university, has eaten andSame breakfast for the past two years: coffee, toast with almond butter, “and an avocado, spinach, protein powder, and banana smoothie.”wrote in the magazine Hour in December 2021).
practicality vs. pleasureBiology, circadian rhythms, probably also play a role; people tend to be more alert at the beginning of the day and therefore would be satisfied with a food choice that they don’t have to think about too much (Getty Images)
Cadario and Morewedge reviewed previous studies and identified two goals that govern meal choices: utilitarian, where practicality is paramount; and hedonic, in which pleasure is more important.
The researchers then analyzed data in which a group of 1,275 American and 2,624 French volunteers reported what they ate at different meals. The goal was find patterns.
They found that in both groups, 68% of participants ate the same foods for breakfast at least twice in a week.
The French did it even more often than the Americans (73% and 52%, respectively). By comparison, only 9% of people repeated a dinner they had already eaten, and this repetition was higher for North Americans (16%) compared to Gauls (6%).
Cultural factors in the US and France may explain why people would seek less variety in their breakfasts, as “Capitalistic work practices give many people less time to select, prepare and consume their breakfasts, compared to their lunches or dinners”, the researchers wrote.
Biology and circadian rhythms probably also play a role; people tend to be more alert at the beginning of the day and therefore would be satisfied with a food choice that they don’t have to think too much about.
But later in the day, when their energy drops, they might wish for a more stimulating meal for lunch or dinner, the scientists suggested.However, while culture, biology, and psychology make it seem natural to pursue utilitarian goals for breakfast, “we can pursue pleasure and seek variety if we put our minds to it” (Getty Images)
The researchers then proposed that the psychological factors could also be assigned to circadian rhythms for further push people towards certain food options.
early in the day, when energy levels are higher, people are more likely to pursue utilitarian goals and make practical decisions.
This makes them more likely to be guided by practicality over breakfast pleasure and more inclined to find a breakfast they like and then eat the same thing over and over again, according to the study.
But As the day progresses, and a person’s energy decreases, so does the importance of utilitarian goals.
Pleasure-seeking becomes more important, and a person would then be more likely to seek variety in flavors and textures.
However, Although culture, biology, and psychology make it seem natural to seek utilitarian goals for breakfast, “we can pursue pleasure and seek variety if we put our minds to it.” wrote more wedge in the magazine Hour.
In fact, analysis of study participants’ food diaries showed that on weekends, when people expected breakfast to be more enjoyable, they generally introduced more variety to the breakfast menu.
By consciously introducing variations to breakfasts on weekdays, even if it means a little extra work, breakfast can become much more enjoyable, which can help set a more positive tone for the rest of the day, according to Cadario. “A little pleasure in the morning It helps you start the day on the right foot.” concluded.