But a new study suggests the "most important meal of the day" may not be so important - at least for adults trying to lose weight.
Published Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study found dieters who skipped breakfast lost just as much weight as dieters who ate breakfast regularly. The researchers concluded that while breakfast may have several health benefits, weight loss isn't one of them.
So far, research has generally shown a link between skipping breakfast and the likelihood of being overweight, but it hasn't proven that skipping breakfast causes weight gain. "Previous studies have mostly demonstrated correlation, but not necessarily causation," lead study author Emily Dhurandhar said in a statement from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
There is good observational evidence to support breakfast's place on the menu, says Michelle Cardel, a co-author of the study from the University of Colorado Denver. Nearly 80% of people on the National Weight Control Registry, a group of more than 4,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off, eat breakfast every day. Ninety percent of them eat breakfast at least 5 days a week.