Is THIS why you have toast every day? We get stuck in breakfast routines because of meal’s ‘utilitarian goal’ to eat quickly and avoid weight gain, says study
- Study shows people more likely to eat same breakfast again than lunch or dinner
- Researchers say we stick to breakfast routines because it has a ‘utilitarian goal’
- This could be eating quickly to start day or eating healthily to keep off weight
- But lunch and dinner have ‘hedonic’ goals, which means people look for pleasure
When it comes to meal planning, we’re keen to make lunches and dinner as varied and exciting as possible.
But as far as breakfast is concerned people are happy to tuck into the same cereal or slice of toast day after day, a study has found.
Researchers suggest we get stuck in breakfast routines because this meal has a ‘utilitarian goal’, such as eating quickly, starting the day, or eating healthily to prevent weight gain.
But lunch and dinner have a more ‘hedonic’ goal, which means people look for pleasure.
Dr Romain Cadario, who led the study from Rotterdam School of Management, said: ‘[It] came about because my colleagues and I talked about always having the same breakfast, but how we didn’t worry about it being boring or tedious.
‘However we would not even consider having the same dinner for three or four nights in a row.’
Researchers suggest we get stuck in breakfast routines because this meal has a ‘utilitarian goal’, such as eating quickly, starting the day, or eating healthily to prevent weight gain
Researchers first looked at 1,275 people in the US, aged 18 to 99. Volunteers recorded what they ate for every meal in a week. Their choices showed people were far more likely to eat the same thing for breakfast than lunch or dinner, although they varied their breakfasts more at the weekend.
The same phenomenon was seen in 2,624 people in France despite them typically being more interested in food, the study published in journal Appetite showed.
A separate survey of 199 people found they were less likely to report a hedonic goal for breakfast than other meals and enjoyed it less. They were typically found to have yesterday’s breakfast three more times in a week.
The study further recruited 181 more people from the US, telling a third simply to eat breakfast the next day, while a second group were instructed to ‘maximise your enjoyment with a pleasurable breakfast’.
The final group were asked to ‘maximise your convenience with an efficient’ one.
Fifty eight per cent told to enjoy their breakfast picked something they hadn’t eaten in the past week.
But only 31 per cent chose a different breakfast when aiming for a convenient meal and just 32 per cent did so when they were told only to eat breakfast.
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