To breakfast or not to breakfast: That is the question for dieters
05/30/2019 // Cassie B. // Views

Although we’ve had it drilled into our heads over the years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s a claim that does not necessarily hold water. In fact, the very notion is a marketing concept that was conceived by cereal companies to sell more of their products. Of course, that doesn’t mean breakfast is a bad thing. If you’re looking to lose weight, is this meal important or even necessary? The answer isn’t so simple.

It’s easy to see both sides of the coin. On one hand, eating a healthy breakfast can help you feel satisfied from the time you wake up until lunch, preventing you from snacking if you choose the right foods. On the other hand, much of weight loss comes down to calories in versus calories out, and some breakfasts have just as many calories as a dinner. What’s a dieter to do?

A study published in the BMJ explored the idea of breakfast helping people lose weight, and it found that there wasn’t any strong evidence in favor of the first meal of the day. In fact, after examining data from 13 randomized, controlled trials that were carried out over the past 28 years, they discovered that those who eat breakfast tend to consume a greater number of calories each day overall than those who skip it. Their finding seems to dispel the notion that eating breakfast prevents overeating at lunch or dinner, with breakfast eaters consuming 260 more calories per day than those who skip it, on average.

Not surprisingly, they also discovered that people who eat breakfast weigh more than those who skip it, although the difference was rather small at 15.5 ounces. The authors point out that this doesn’t make breakfast bad as it could be providing people with needed nutrition and concentration, but they urge caution in recommending breakfast to adults who want to lose weight.


Skipping breakfast can be beneficial

There is lots of evidence in favor of skipping breakfast. The idea that skipping breakfast slows your metabolism down has been exposed as a myth. In fact, giving up breakfast can increase fat loss if enough time has passed since dinner.

This is akin to the style of intermittent fasting wherein people eat during an eight-hour window each day and fast for the remaining 16 hours, 16:8 intermittent fasting. So, for example, if you’re skipping breakfast and just eating between noon and 8pm each day, you’re doing intermittent fasting, which has been shown to raise your insulin sensitivity and boost your body’s ability to deal with carbs and send nutrients to your muscles. It can also have benefits when it comes to cholesterol, heart disease risk, inflammation, asthma, and longevity.

What you eat for breakfast could be more important than whether you eat it

If you simply can’t get through your day without having breakfast, what you choose to eat can make all the difference. If you’re eating processed cereals or white bread or toast with jam, you’re getting a load of refined carbs with very little fiber and protein to balance it out.

A high-carb breakfast will only serve to make you hungry again sooner as it causes a blood sugar spike. Therefore, you must focus on consuming a breakfast that is rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber if you want to keep hunger at bay. Some examples include an egg and avocado on whole wheat toast, Greek yogurt with nuts and berries, or oats with nut butter and fruit.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. Studies show that giving up breakfast can help with weight loss. However, if skipping breakfast doesn’t work for you, make sure you choose what you eat at this meal wisely or it could undo your weight loss efforts.

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