Most of us know the importance of breakfast yet many dieters are skipping breakfast for faster weight loss results. This “diet” strategy has helped individuals slim down faster, but this isn’t a one size fits all approach, everyone is different. The best breakfast plan depends on many factors including the individual’s schedule, food choices and total calorie consumption. Let’s take a closer look at whether skipping breakfast is really an effective strategy for weight management.
THE DOWNSIDE TO SKIPPING BREAKFAST
Skipping breakfast might mean that you miss out on some imperative weight loss benefits. Research has shown that people who eat a healthy breakfast lose weight and keep it off. Let’s look at some ways breakfast may assist in weight loss:
- Eating a balanced, calorie-controlled breakfast can help decrease late morning cravings. These cravings may lead to unhealthy food binges1. Often the readily available foods in canteens and vending machines are high in calories, sugar and salt.
- Eating breakfast with small meals throughout the day can help to reinforce portion control. If you are satisfied during the day this will help prevent you from overeating later on. A study that tracked 50,000 participants aged 30 years and older and monitored their eating habits for an average of 7 years showed that eating breakfast and making it the biggest meal of the day, instead of skipping the morning meal was associated with a decrease in body mass index (BMI)2.
- Eating a healthy breakfast that includes whole-grains and lean protein will help you to feel fuller for longer and can thereby assist in weight management. Studies have shown that individuals that consume breakfast high in protein ate less calories later in the day3.
- Eating breakfast helps improve vitality and energy levels and may assist in morning or early afternoon
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that we divide our total daily food intake into four or five meals (that would then be 3 meals and 2 snacks) including breakfast.
Eating breakfast can help with weight loss but the morning meal doesn’t cause it. Studies have shown that skipping breakfast can result in an overall reduction in calories by up to 400 calories per day4,5. Therefore individuals are losing weight due to the reduction of total calories consumed which can be achieved in other ways rather than skipping breakfast.
RISK FACTORS OF SKIPPING BREAKFAST
- Unhealthy: skipping breakfast to save calories can lead to the opposite. Often individuals will overcompensate at lunch or dinner6. Not eating a balanced meal including carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and 5 fruits and vegetables per day may lead to micronutrient deficiencies and constipation.
- Dehydration: skipping breakfast can often lead to dehydration as your body isn’t getting enough fluid from food.
- Stress: if you are used to eating your small frequent meals including snacks, such a major change can be a huge challenge thereby increasing stress levels and disrupting sleeping patterns. Dehydration, hunger, fatigue and lack of sleep all lead to headaches6.
- Not a weight loss solution: skipping the morning meal is not a long-term solution for weight loss6. One needs to focus on making healthy choices everyday so that it becomes part of your lifestyle.
- Not suitable for everyone: individuals that are already underweight should not be skipping breakfast, people with major medical problems, that have recently undergone surgery or those taking a range of medications including insulin, should not skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast is not suitable for children, in pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding. People with eating disorders or mental problems should avoid skipping breakfast as this may exacerbate their condition7.
Breakfast has always been in the limelight for being the most important meal of the day and with good reason. Many studies support this saying so why would one want to skip it? If you are trying to manage your weight eat a low GI, protein containing breakfast and instead manage your calorie intake for the day. This way you have a long-term solution for your healthy eating ways.
WHERE DOES FUTURELIFE® FIT IN?
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- Frey M. Verywell Fit. [Online].; 2018 [cited 2018 July 16. Available from: https://www.verywellfit.com/is-skipping-breakfast-best-for-weight-loss-3496232.
- Fletcher M. Prima. [Online].; 2017 [cited 2018 July 13. Available from: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/diet/new-study-says-making-breakfast-your-main-meal-is-key-to-weight-loss/ar-AAoFHDw.
- Leidy HJ, Ortinau LC, Douglas SM, Hoertel HA. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013 April; 97(4).
- Levitsky D, Pacanowski C. Effect of skipping breakfast on subsequent energy intake. Physio Behav. 2013 July; 119(9).
- Geliebter A ANAFRYEHS. Skipping breakfast leads to weight loss but also elevated cholesterol compared with consuming daily breakfasts of oat porridge or frosted cornflakes in overweight individuals: a randomised controlled trial. J Nutr Sci. 2014 November; 13(3).
- Bjarnadottir. Healthline. [Online].; 2017 [cited 2018 July 13. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-skipping-breakfast-bad#section2.
- Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S, Raymond JL, Krause MV. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 13th ed. Elsievier , editor.: Elsevier Health Sciences; 2010.