Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or whether you just aren’t making time for it, skipping breakfast is often a common practice. This is particularly true for those who aren’t getting enough sleep and are running short on time in the morning. There are arguments on both sides about whether or not breakfast really is the most important meal of the day… so, is it okay to skip breakfast in the morning?
When it comes to losing weight, the general consensus – after decades of research – is that a person should not skip breakfast. Eating a meal within the first couple hours of waking not only gives your body fuel, but it also reminds your body after a night-long fast that it’s not starving, and that it’s okay to burn some of those fat reserves you have stored on your body. Basically, by eating breakfast you are kicking your metabolism into gear, and setting the fat-burning rhythm for the rest of the day. In fact, a nutrition manager at Duke University Medical School’s Diet and Fitness Center, Elisabetta Politi, was quoted on WebMD with a similar statement, as well as noting that eating breakfast help to prevent “starvation eating” later in the day.
There are those who don’t agree with this, however. Some nutritionists and dieticians who work in the weight loss field believe you can actually skip breakfast. For instance, because many of Weight Watchers’ clients often mention that the cereal they would eat for breakfast actually made them hungrier, Weight Watchers’ philosophy is a little different. Senior nutritionist Maria Walls, RD (Registered Dietitian), is quoted on the Weight Watchers site as stating that you really “can skip breakfast and lose weight successfully.” She also adds: “What’s most important is the total number of PointsPlus® eaten over the course of the day.” This philosophy for weight loss clearly differs from what many others in the weight loss industry believe.
In addition to nutritionists and dieticians, some in the medical community have recently begun to change their course with regard to whether breakfast is actually important as well. A recent study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, set out to challenge the assertion that skipping breakfast was a deterrent for weight loss. What they found was interesting.
While most in the medical community still agree that skipping meals can affect your metabolism, the study at the University of Alabama revealed that it may not be eating a regular breakfast that helps lose weight, as much as regular consumption. Lead author of the study, Emily Dhurandhar, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior, stated: “We should try to understand why eating or skipping breakfast did not influence weight loss, despite evidence that breakfast may influence appetite and metabolism.”
So which is it? Which side should you believe? The problem with skipping breakfast lies in the fact that most people’s metabolism will not function as efficiently when meals are skipped – and those who skip breakfast tend to skip other meals on occasion, too. Plus, there is the problem of overeating if you neglect to eat regularly. But when it comes to breakfast alone, think about it: will you lose weight as quickly if you are leaving your body in its starvation mode for extended periods of time? Probably not.
So, if you are wondering whether or not it’s okay to skip breakfast, you are going to have to evaluate your eating habits on your own, as well as whether or not your are working with other health issues, like diabetes or hormonal problems. But as for a broad answer to the question, there are easy solutions that will allow you to keep you metabolism going and prevent overeating during other periods of the day:
- Eat breakfast. If you are not hungry for breakfast, eat something small; and, if you find that eating cereal or other carbohydrates just makes you hungrier, then simply add a little protein to your breakfast or opt for a no-carb breakfast.
- Try a no-carb breakfast. No-carb meals leave you full longer and don’t digest as quickly, so you have little chance of going through morning highs and lows. A large boiled egg is an easy on-the-go meal that will only dent your calorie count for about 70 calories.
- Skip breakfast, but keep your meals regular. If you opt for skipping breakfast, make sure you eat regularly throughout the day to avoid the problem of “starvation eating.”
Regardless of whether you believe in skipping or eating breakfast, nearly everyone agrees that skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day. So, if you want to skip it, it’s up to you. You should, however, keep other health concerns in mind and talk to your doctor if you have any health issues that might be affected by missing the “most important meal of the day.”