Updated: Aug 15
There is an ongoing debate about breakfast; those who believe it is necessary and those who don't. While there may be benefits to eating breakfast, there are also benefits for skipping it.
Here's why you shouldn't feel guilty if you choose not to eat this morning meal.
Table of Contents:
Reasons You Shouldn't Skip Breakfast
Breakfast eaters are often healthier and slimmer than those who miss breakfast. This may be because breakfast eaters also have other good lifestyle practises.
Eating breakfast may be beneficial for young people who are still growing, as well as athletes and bodybuilders aiming to gain muscle mass or strength.
1) People Who Eat Breakfast Seem to Have Healthier Habits
As a result, many experts believe that eating breakfast is beneficial. These investigations, however, are observational studies, which cannot prove causality.
These studies indicate that individuals who eat breakfast are healthier, but they can't establish that it's because of the meal.
People who miss breakfast, on the other hand, are more likely to smoke, consume more alcohol, and exercise less. (6)
Perhaps these are the reasons why, on average, breakfast eaters are healthier. It's possible that it has nothing to do with the meal itself, but due to other causes.
In reality, high-quality studies, such as randomised controlled trials, indicate that whether you eat or skip breakfast makes little difference to your health.
2) Better for Young People or Those Who Are Growing
Eating breakfast in the morning increases your overall calorie intake for the day, compared with skipping breakfast.
This is better for young people who are still growing and need more calories. For bodybuilders and athletes who require more calories, it is also ideal for them to eat breakfast.
Breakfast also increases your daily protein consumption, which improves your body's capacity to repair and build muscle.
Reasons You Should Skip Breakfast
There are a few reasons that skipping breakfast may be beneficial.
It may have beneficial effects on health, and contrary to popular belief, skipping breakfast may also have benefits for weight loss, and eating breakfast doesn't boost metabolism.
1) Skipping Breakfast May Have Health Benefits
Many intermittent fasting regimens include skipping breakfast. Intermittent fasting has a number of health advantages.
In many intermittent fasting techniques, skipping breakfast is a frequent practise. The 16/8 technique, which entails a 16-hour overnight fast followed by an 8-hour eating window, is one example.
This eating window often runs from noon to evening, so you'll be skipping breakfast every day.
It's worth noting that intermittent fasting and missing breakfast does not have the same effects for everyone. Some people may have favourable benefits, while other people may suffer headaches, blood sugar dips, faintness, inability to concentrate, etc. (10, 11, 12)
2) Eating Breakfast Doesn't Boost Metabolism
The number of calories you burn during the day is unaffected by whether you eat or skip breakfast.
Breakfast is said to "kick-start" the metabolism, but this is not true. These individuals are discussing the thermic impact of food, which is the increase in calories expended after eating.
However, the overall quantity of food eaten during the day is what counts for metabolism. It doesn't matter that much when you eat or how frequently you eat.
People who eat or skip breakfast burn the same amount of calories over 24 hours. (13)
3) Skipping Breakfast Doesn't Cause Weight Gain
Research indicates that whether individuals eat or miss breakfast has no effect. It's true that you eat more at lunch if you skip breakfast, but not enough to make up for the breakfast you missed.
"People who miss breakfast are more likely to gain weight than those who have breakfast." This may seem counterintuitive, since how can not eating lead you to gain weight?
Some people believe that missing breakfast makes you hungry and leads you to overeat later in the day. This seems to make logical sense, yet the science contradicts it.
It's true that missing breakfast makes individuals hungry and leads them to eat more at lunch, but this isn't enough to make up for the breakfast they missed.
This makes sense since you're essentially eliminating a full meal from your daily diet. The eat or skip breakfast conundrum was recently put to the test in a randomised controlled study.
This was a four-month trial in which 309 overweight/obese men and women were compared to when eating or skipping breakfast. (17)
There was no change in weight between the groups at 4 months. It made no difference whether individuals ate or didn't eat breakfast.
It is unlikely to make a difference whether you eat or miss breakfast as long as you eat healthily for the rest of the day.
Breakfast does not "kick-start" your metabolism, and missing it will not cause you to overeat and gain weight. This is a misconception based on observational studies that were later debunked in high-quality studies.
Some people prefer to have breakfast, and some people don't. Breakfast is optional and it all comes down to personal taste and your own body.
If you're hungry in the morning and like breakfast, go ahead and eat something nutritious. The ideal breakfast is one that is high in protein.
However, if you are not hungry in the morning and do not believe you need breakfast, skip it.
This section contains links to research, studies, and sources of information for this article, as well as authors, contributors, etc. All sources, along with the article and facts, are subjected to a series of quality, reliability, and relevance checks.
Real Muscle primarily uses high-quality sources, such as peer-reviewed publications, to back up the information in our articles. To understand more about how we fact-check and keep our information accurate, dependable, and trustworthy, read more about us.
This evidence based analysis of skipping breakfast features 18 references, listed below.
1. Dubois L, Girard M, Potvin Kent M, Farmer A, Tatone-Tokuda F. Breakfast skipping is associated with differences in meal patterns, macronutrient intakes and overweight among pre-school children. Public Health Nutr. (2009, Jan) ✔
2. Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Nicklas TA, O'Neil CE, Keast DR, Radcliffe JD, Cho S. The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006. J Am Diet Assoc. (2010, Jun) ✔
3. Giovannini M, Agostoni C, Shamir R. Symposium overview: Do we all eat breakfast and is it important? Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. (2010, Feb) (Review) ✔
4. O'Neil CE, Nicklas TA, Fulgoni VL 3rd. Nutrient intake, diet quality, and weight/adiposity parameters in breakfast patterns compared with no breakfast in adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2008. J Acad Nutr Diet. (2014, Dec) (Comparative Study) ✔
5. Rampersaud GC, Pereira MA, Girard BL, Adams J, Metzl JD. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc. (2005, May) (Review) ✔
6. Cahill LE, Chiuve SE, Mekary RA, Jensen MK, Flint AJ, Hu FB, Rimm EB. Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation. (2013, Jul 23) ✔
7. Johnstone A. Fasting for weight loss: an effective strategy or latest dieting trend? Int J Obes (Lond). (2015, May) (Review) ✔
8. Chaston TB, Dixon JB, O'Brien PE. Changes in fat-free mass during significant weight loss: a systematic review. Int J Obes (Lond). (2007, May) (Review) ✔
9. Barnosky AR, Hoddy KK, Unterman TG, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Transl Res. (2014, Oct) (Review) ✔
10. Farshchi HR, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Deleterious effects of omitting breakfast on insulin sensitivity and fasting lipid profiles in healthy lean women. Am J Clin Nutr. (2005, Feb) (Clinical Trial) ✔
11. Zilberter T, Zilberter EY. Breakfast and cognition: sixteen effects in nine populations, no single recipe. Front Hum Neurosci. (2013, Oct 1) ✔
12. Brown AW, Bohan Brown MM, Allison DB. Belief beyond the evidence: using the proposed effect of breakfast on obesity to show 2 practices that distort scientific evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. (2013, Nov) (Meta-Analysis) ✔
13. Kobayashi F, Ogata H, Omi N, Nagasaka S, Yamaguchi S, Hibi M, Tokuyama K. Effect of breakfast skipping on diurnal variation of energy metabolism and blood glucose. Obes Res Clin Pract. (2014, May-Jun) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
14. Gonzalez JT, Veasey RC, Rumbold PL, Stevenson EJ. Breakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males. Br J Nutr. (2013, Aug) ✔
15. Levitsky DA, Pacanowski CR. Effect of skipping breakfast on subsequent energy intake. Physiol Behav. (2013, Jul 2) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
16. Geliebter A, Astbury NM, Aviram-Friedman R, Yahav E, Hashim S. 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, Nov 13) ✔
17. Dhurandhar EJ, Dawson J, Alcorn A, Larsen LH, Thomas EA, Cardel M, Bourland AC, Astrup A, St-Onge MP, Hill JO, Apovian CM, Shikany JM, Allison DB. The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. (2014, Aug) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
18. McCrory MA. Meal skipping and variables related to energy balance in adults: a brief review, with emphasis on the breakfast meal. Physiol Behav. (2014, Jul) (Review) ✔
✔ Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.
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