Breakfast or not? Is the first meal so important, says the master of nutrition

Elizabeth Gilman

Elizabeth Gilman

When can you skip breakfast?

Some people really shouldn’t give it up.

<a href="https://www.championat.com/authors/5461/1.html">Elizaveta Gilman</a>” title=”<a href="https://www.championat.com/authors/5461/1.html">Elizaveta Gilman</a>“/></p></div><p>member of the British Association of Nutritionists, M.S. in Nutrition, author of Make Peace with Food</p><p class=What happens if you skip breakfast? Who shouldn’t do this?

In childhood, many were told that breakfast is the most important meal that should not be skipped. But is this statement true? Is breakfast really that important for health? Let’s try to understand this issue.

Does breakfast affect weight loss?

An interesting fact is that people who skip breakfast tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI). But does this mean that because of such a habit, you can gain weight? It’s not all that obvious. Such statistics are based on observational studies, and therefore cannot establish a causal relationship. We can’t say for sure whether people have a high BMI because they skip breakfast, or people with a high BMI skip breakfast to lose weight.

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There is also evidence that skipping breakfast leads to a reduction in calorie intake, which in turn leads to weight loss. There are other studies that report that the presence or absence of breakfast does not affect the number of calories.

But why are there so many different opinions on the same issue? This happens, among other things, due to the fact that some subconsciously compensate for all the “lost” morning calories later, when others do not experience such cravings for food. For example, in a four-week study, 49 women who did not usually eat breakfast were divided into two groups: “beginners” and “continued” to eat breakfast. Those who started eating in the morning ate an average of 266 kcal more per day and gained some weight (0.8 kg). The group without breakfast did not consume more calories during the day and did not gain weight.

Skipping breakfast may not cause you to overeat during the day, but it doesn’t mean you’ll eat less either. It is important to understand and respect the peculiarities of your body. Do not force yourself to switch to a diet that you do not like or does not fit with your lifestyle.

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There is also a common misconception that breakfast allegedly “starts the metabolism.” And if you skip it, the metabolism slows down. However, evidence suggests that prolonging your morning fast does not in itself slow down your metabolism. It’s influenced by total calorie intake, not meal frequency – undereating regularly can slow down your metabolism.

Another fairly common opinion concerns training in the morning on an empty stomach. By themselves, exercise on an empty stomach is considered more effective than training after breakfast.

So should you eat breakfast or not?

This is an individual question, and there is no single answer to it. If you eat adequately throughout the day, skipping breakfast won’t make a big difference. You can do without it if you do not feel hungry in the morning or just do not like breakfast. There are people who do not want to eat at all after waking up.

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If you had a heavy dinner the night before, you may not want to eat breakfast. If you usually eat light meals in the evening or have an early dinner, you may be more hungry when you wake up.

But if you skip breakfast despite hunger signals, there is a risk of overeating at lunch or in the evening. Malnutrition often leads to this result.

Who is still recommended not to skip breakfast:

  • children and teenagers;
  • people with impaired blood glucose regulation;
  • those who are very hungry in the morning and cannot get down to business without eating;
  • people with appropriate recommendations from the attending physician.

The main advice is to listen to your feelings. For different people, the importance of breakfast can be different. In the end, this choice should be based on your preferences, personal goals, health and lifestyle.

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