You surely heard the saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” What you might not know is that the origin of this saying comes from a 1944 marketing campaign launched by General Foods to sell more cereal.
Marketing campaigns like this were key to the rise of cereal, a product invented by John Harvey Kellogg in order to keep folks from desiring sex. The rise of cereal established breakfast as a meal with distinct foods and created the model of processed, ready-to-eat breakfast that still largely reigns. And it all depends on advertising and convincing you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
"The Romans believed it was healthier to eat only one meal a day." This is what we call intermittent fasting nowadays.
Before the invention of cereals, breakfast was not even a standard routine. Breakfast became a daily, first thing in the morning institution with the onset of the industrial revolution. Once large masses of people moved to cities and became employees with set schedules, breakfast became a thing. Breakfast has been a market share battleground ever since.
Once breakfast became fully institutionalized, the 19th century American breakfast grew increasingly like dinner, and dishes like beef steaks and roasted chickens joined staples like cornbread, flapjacks, and butter on American breakfast tables. Americans needed a simpler, lighter breakfast. What they got was the over-sugared, overprocessed cereal as a health food.
A dietary reformer named Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker in 1827. James Caleb Jackson invented a cereal that he named “granula” in 1863. And James Kellogg developed granola or corn flakes in the 1890s. In Kellog's mind, masturbation was a shameful act linked to bad health; and over-stimulating meats, and sexual acts formed an insidious cycle. Cereal was seen as a solution to the nation’s dyspepsia, and since it didn’t need to be cooked, it was a convenience food at a time when the Industrial Revolution meant people had less time and less access to a kitchen or farm.
In conclusion, breakfast is the most marketed meal of the day. That says a lot...