Why Skipping Breakfast to Lose Weight Might Actually be a Good Idea

A picture of Skipping Breakfast To Lose WeightIn this article I am going to explain why skipping breakfast to lose weight might be a good idea.

I’ve probably heard hundreds of times that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, even by people that are apparent “experts”, such as personal trainers, nutritionists, and others.

However, just because a lot of people claim it to be true, and that most people do it, doesn’t make it right.

I’m a big fan of challenging conventional wisdom, especially when it comes to health and nutrition. The current methods sure as hell aren’t working that well, given the ever growing population of overweight and diabetic people.

One of those things, that I believe are absolutely wrong, is the idea that breakfast is some kind of necessity.

I’m sure Kellogg’s and General Mills would like you to think so, as well as supplement manufacturers who claim that 6 meals per day provide optimal health.

Skipping Breakfast to Lose Weight – A Bad Idea?

It is common knowledge that those who eat breakfast every day are less likely to be overweight. There are a bunch of studies that demonstrate this.

However, this is merely an association and has never been confirmed in controlled trials.

The reason for this is probably that health conscious people are less likely to be overweight, and health conscious people are more likely to eat breakfast.

Let’s look at some of the reasons health experts claim that eating breakfast helps you lose weight.

If you don’t eat breakfast, you will eat unhealthy later in the day.

This is a common observation, the stereotypical “breakfast skipper” is not health conscious at all and is likely to grab whatever they can find when they become ravenously hungry at lunch.

However, if someone skips breakfast, and then actually eats healthy for the rest of the day, this argument doesn’t hold anymore.

Breakfast jump starts your metabolism.

Some people claim that eating breakfast jump starts metabolism for the day. This is absolute nonsense.

It is true that food we eat temporarily raises our metabolism, known as the thermic effect of food. But it is the total amount we eat that causes this thermic effect, no matter if we eat it in the morning or later in the day.

When you fast, blood sugar and insulin levels drop, and growth hormone levels are elevated. Growth hormone is a fat burning hormone with many benefits.

Eating often is necessary to lose weight.

This is one of the biggest lies of the health and supplement industry. When weight gain is obviously caused by eating too much, how can it possibly make sense that eating more often would lead to weight loss?

Given that frequent eating doesn’t raise meatabolism and doesn’t reduce hunger, it just doesn’t make sense.

And let’s not forget that eating frequently is highly associated with increased risk of colon cancer.

Skipping breakfast will lower your blood sugar.

Some experts seem to think that your body and brain will suffer from dangerously low blood sugar if you don’t eat breakfast.

These people seem to have forgotten about a biochemical process known as gluconeogenesis, which will always provide the body and brain with the glucose it needs.

A lower blood sugar is actually a good thing and delays ageing, among other things.

The important thing is to not let blood sugar go “too” low, which is something that shouldn’t happen in healthy people. In fact, the human body is perfectly capable of maintaining blood sugar levels during prolonged starvation, let alone a short fast or skipping a meal or two.

Conclusion

When you closely examine the arguments why some people claim that skipping breakfast is a bad thing, it turns out that they don’t really have any scientific basis.

It is just another example of conventional wisdom nonsense, never proven but made true by people repeating it over and over again.

If you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, eating breakfast or eating multiple meals per day just doesn’t make sense. Although I’m not an anthropologist, I highly doubt that paleolithic man ate breakfast.

9 Comments

  1. I love that statement ” I highly doubt that paleolithic man ate breakfast.”

    I can just see it now; caveman wakes up, goes to re-kindle the fire, grinds some fresh coffee, goes to his stores and grabs the grain he’s picked, grinds it, mixes it, cooks it, then thinks about what he wants to do that day, whilst basking in the raised metabolism of having had his staple brekkie.

    Or maybe not.

    Fasting must have been such a part of our lifestyle that our bodies would have had no choice but to adapt to it, and therefore to totally avoid doing it in modern life may well be dangerous (when combined with a few other factors).

    I’ve personally benefitted massively from doing fasting, and have got some great education from Martin over at Leangains, but I’ve recently read Eat Stop Eat and it opened my eyes in another way entirely. All good, and perhaps wouldn’t have happened if I’d come to them the other way round. Either way, it’s all good.

    Keep up the good work Kris,
    George Super BootCamps

  2. Hi Kris,

    I’ve been skipping breakfast for a while now and it really helps me control my weight. I’m not even hungry in the morning so it’s easy for me.

    Best – Mike

  3. Hey Kris,

    I never eat every 2 hours exactly or breakfast precicely at 7 every morning or whatever like the experts recommend. I eat breakfast whenever I get hungry for the first time in the morning as well as the rest of my meals for the day. I might eat lunch and then 4 hours later (after I’ve gone to the gym sometimes) and then have dinner whenever I feel like it, and then a late night snack just to get my calorie count into the right zone. Sometimes I would binge eat an apple 3 o’clock in the morning and go back to sleep!
    This morning I only ate breakfast at 10 at work (I was up at 7 already).
    In my opinion, and I know I’m not a health expert, as long as you eat healthy foods and stay in your daily calorie zone, I find that you can pretty much eat whenever your body tells you to. It doesn’t HAVE to be every 2 freakin’ hours unless I suppose your a hardcore bodybuilder or some kind of fitness freak.
    Even though I am in pretty good shape, I’ve lost 7kg’s in the past 3 months so the resutls speak for themselves – this obviously involves regular excercise :)
    That said, I think your article holds a lot of merit indeed.
    - Regards,
    Carl.

  4. I absolutely agree. We are the only species who eat by a clock rather than when we are truly hungry. I say if you are hungry in the morning then eat, but if you’re not then don’t try forcing it down just to “jump start your metabolism”. In my opinion, 3 meals + snacks each and every day is way too much food for the body to contend with.
    As a nutritionist who consults with members of a fitness club, I’m horrified by some of the diet advice that is passed down to members by their personal trainers (i.e. eating every two hours to boost the metabolism and drinking chocolate milk after a workout). Unfortunately it’s part of the outdated “gym-head” paradigm that is still being passed along as a truth. With that said, I do see a shift with more trainers I meet being open to a more holistic approach around food and diet.

    • I totally agree, although the 5 to 6 times a day eating protocol for keeping metabolism active is ok for some, but in general, I’ve always just felt it teaches one to eat all day.

      Which also means realistically they more than likely will not be eating healthy all day as well. It’s really kind of contradictory to losing weight when one thinks about it. Eating in this fashion just makes you want to eat more. Your energy expenditure will not increase enough to adjust for this constant food intake. One should only be eating for a need, that is the real answer here. I do believe Kris has a very good handle on this aspect of food intake.

      I work with many professional athletes and none of them eat like that. They eat heavy after a practice or training to satisfy the huge energy expenditure and and then a couple of more times a day. This whole personal training thing I’ve seen in the fitness gyms, is quite foolish.

      I’ll see a trainer tell a client to cut candy, and all sugary products but then recommend a supplement that has more junk in it than a snickers bar……go figure.

  5. @Elaine: What do you recommend as a post-workout meal/nutrition ?

  6. It’s laughable that they say if you miss breakfast you will eat unhealthily the rest of the day. Like we don’t have a choice or something. I used to eat 5 or 6 times per day because I was told it was best. But now it’s usually 3 times. And I do think it’s beneficial to miss breakfast, at least once in a while. Or just simply to eat when you get hungry.

    I started intermittent fasting a couple of months ago too, and I look forward to my fasting day now. It’s quite liberating really.

    • Carl Vermooten says:

      @David – I totally agree with you David.
      I’ve been getting better results in the weight loss department from eating fewer healthy meals per day. Better than what I ever did doing 6 meals without effecting my muscle gains at all!
      I think the occasional fasting is, as you say, quite liberating indeed. That’s very well put and I totally feel you on that point!

  7. Love your article. It works.

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