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Do You Need Breakfast?

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Do you need to eat breakfast? Conventional wisdom says that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" but is this a truly accurate picture of the ideal eating environment? Find out more about the benefits of breakfast and if it really is necessary below.

Everyone has heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your mother probably said it to you to make sure you ate before leaving for school. You have probably told your own children that eating breakfast is important. As a collective society, we have agreed that breakfast is always necessary.

But is it?

According to a 40-year report published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about 25 percent of Americans skip breakfast daily. This deletion of breakfast is reported to be related to weight gain and result in obesity, but new research suggests that this generations-old belief may not be true for everyone. Find out what the latest research says below:

Breakfast Eaters are Healthy

According to multiple studies, individuals who eat breakfast are generally healthier than the breakfast-skippers. Breakfast-eaters are less likely to be overweight and have a reduced risk of developing common chronic diseases. Breakfast eaters usually consume more fiber and micronutrients than individuals who skip breakfast.

Breakfast-skippers are more likely to smoke, drink more, and exercise less. In general, breakfast-eaters live healthier lives overall. However, recent studies have suggested that rather than breakfast causing health benefits, healthier people choose to eat breakfast more often.

Breakfast Doesn't Affect Metabolism

Research shows that breakfast doesn't have much effect on the metabolism. A study from 2014 published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice found that no matter when people started eating, there was no difference in how many calories a person burned. Eating breakfast did not give a person a calorie-burning boost, as was suggested by some previous studies on breakfast eating habits.

 Skipping Breakfast Doesn't Cause Weight Gain

The studies outlined above show that breakfast-skippers tend to weigh more than breakfast-eaters. But there is no direct relationship between breakfast and weight gain or loss. Some researchers have suggested that skipping breakfast causes a person to over-eat later, which may cause them to eat more. But observational studies have shown that this theory is not true.

During a four month-long study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014, it was found that whether a person ate breakfast or not had no affect on their weight at all. The weight of all study participants stayed the same no matter whether they ate breakfast or not. These studies suggest that it is overall lifestyle habits of individuals who skip breakfast that cause weight gain rather than any direct relationship between breakfast and weight loss.

Strangely, even though the breakfast-skippers tended to eat about 400 calories less each day, they did not lose weight either.

Skipping Breakfast Can be Healthy

In some cases, skipping breakfast may be part of an overall healthy eating plan. We don't recommend skipping breakfast to stuff your face with junk food, but when done correctly, skipping breakfast can have positive results. For example, when added to a regimented intermittent fasting program, skipping breakfast can result in improved weight loss, better metabolic health, and a total reduction in calorie intake. However, the key is to follow a regimented and consistent fasting plan for at least five out of every seven days.

For some reason, the body responds better to fasting when it is expected than when it is random. Random periods of fasting may actually result in weight gain rather than weight loss. Skipping Breakfast Can Also Cause Problems Not everyone can go without breakfast. Skipping breakfast can also cause headaches, blood sugar drops, fainting spells, lack of concentration, and the inability to think clearly.

So far, studies have not found why some people can skip breakfast and others cannot. The only way to test if you can safely and healthily skip breakfast is to try it. If you feel fine powering through the morning without the intake of food, go ahead and try it. You will save time in the morning and may actually benefit your health (as long as you don't make up the calories with junk food). However, if you feel sluggish, irritable, achy, light-headed, or get a headache, you may need to eat breakfast after all.

However, there seems to be no scientific evidence one way or the other that states that all people should always eat breakfast. So if you have to skip breakfast every now and then to make a morning meeting, don't sweat it. It is unlikely to derail your healthy eating plan. But if you shun a healthy breakfast at home only to eat donuts at the office later, then you are better off going ahead and making those eggs or eating that bowl of fruit.

What Makes a Healthy Breakfast?

Breakfast can be a challenging meal because many typical breakfast foods are full of sugar. Donuts, breads, sugary cereal, and even sugar-filled hot cereals are all common breakfast foods that are unhealthy. If your breakfast consists of these items, it is probably best if you skip breakfast. However, if you eat a breakfast filled with nutrients from vegetables, fruit, and meat, then your daily calorie intake will be filled with healthy nutrients from the start.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas
  • Eggs
  • Sautéed vegetables
  • Omelets
  • Fruit
  • Oatmeal with minimal sugar and added fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Cut up raw veggies
  • Smoothies 
  • Steak

Breakfast is Surrounded in Myths

Breakfast is not a magic bullet for better health. It cannot increase your metabolic rate, cause weight loss, or influence your weight in any way. A healthy breakfast is a great way to start the day, but it is not always necessary to do so. If you have no ill effects from skipping breakfast, there is no reason to feel guilty for doing so. If you are not hungry in the morning, don't eat it. Your health will not suffer from a lack of breakfast foods.





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