Is Skipping Breakfast Bad For You, Even If You’re Not Hungry?

We’ve long been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that it’s non-negotiable and we’ll be fat and unhappy if we don’t have it.

But is this really true?

If you’re anything like me then first thing in the morning all you want is a glass of water and a strong coffee. You don’t want to mess around with cooking and cleaning before starting work or worse, having to run out the house to work.

Sometimes you just want to get up and get on with it.

Yet in the back of your mind, you wonder whether skipping breakfast is bad for you, whether it’ll stop you from losing fat or gaining muscle and whether it will increase your chances of obesity.

Looking at the research one study (1) shows that the belief we need breakfast outweighs any scientific evidence pointing to the same conclusion. Going on to say that the research supporting the idea you need to have breakfast “lacks probative value” and involves “biased research reporting.” 

Additionally, a review paper (2) shows that existing evidence in favour of eating breakfast is weak and that research shows that studies show no cause and effect link between skipping breakfast and energy balance.

As you can see breakfast is beginning to look a lot less important than you’re led to believe. Maybe you can skip it and not see any detrimental effects, but won’t that mean you’re fasting?

Yes, to some degree it will, but that’s ok too. You see fasting isn’t some scary state of being where you lose all your muscle and gain fat either. In fact, fasting has been shown to be beneficial.

Research (3) shows that after fasting (not eating anything) for 60hrs, resting metabolic rate (RMR) is reduced by only 8%. Think about that, if after eating nothing for 60hrs your RMR is only decreased by 8% then missing a meal or fasting for a day will not put you anywhere near starvation mode or mess up your metabolism.

In fact, research (45) shows that short-term (36-48hrs) fasting can even increase metabolic rate by 3.6% - 10%.

The point is that for normal people, in normal circumstances fasting can be beneficial and at worst it’s just going to be a different style of eating with no negative effects.

Breakfast may be a staple in some people’s lives but that doesn’t mean it has to be a permanent fixture for you. If you’re not hungry, don’t have the time or just don’t feel like having breakfast then don’t feel like you have to force it down.

Equally, if you’ve been putting off trying intermittent fasting because you were worried about not having breakfast then maybe it’s time to give it a try.

Whatever you decide to do, make it an informed decision.

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