What did you eat this morning for breakfast? A coffee and a piece of toast, like the day before and the day before that? If your breakfasts are often the same, this is surely not due to chance. Researchers have looked into the reasons why we fall into a morning routine.
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68% of the participants had the same breakfast during the week
Published in the journal Apetite, the study involved 4481 people, based in the US (1275) and France (2624). Surprisingly, the results of the study show that Americans are more likely to opt for the same dinner several times in a week, while the French are most likely to choose the same breakfast. The reason for this may be cultural.
More generally, the researchers found that 68% of participants in all countries ate the same breakfast twice. And this is due to several factors.
Hedonic vs utilitarian
According to the people in charge of the study, breakfast follows two logics: the hedonistic logic, i.e. the pleasure provided by a meal, and the utilitarian, efficient logic, where the meal is simply a means of supplying the body with energy.
And all this would be a simple matter of biology, psychology, and time management. If we tend to opt for 'utilitarian' breakfasts, it is partly because in the morning the body is already full of energy and does not need any extra stimulation. Or rather, less so than at lunchtime or in the evening, when we tend to prefer meals that give us more pleasure.
On the other hand, we generally have less time to prepare a 'hedonistic' meal, and meals that are easy to prepare and do not require too many preparation steps are favoured... which is less the case at the weekend, where breakfasts are more varied and elaborate!
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Finally, other social, economic and cultural factors are also to be taken into account (price, what is accessible near home, etc.). But although the study is very interesting, it does not answer the question that everyone around the world is asking: is milk before or after cereals?