Is it Bad to Skip Breakfast?

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We've long been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (and in the US, it's even inscribed in the government's dietary guidelines). Skip breakfast and you can look forward to unwanted weight gain and a sluggish start to the day right?

Well, not necessarily. New science suggests that skipping breakfast isn't as bad for you as we thought. And we're even being told that previous wisdom that eating a big an early breakfast is best, was simply speculation.

Skipping breakfast: no longer a bad thing

Numerous trials have found that skipping breakfast does not result in weight gain. The Washington Post refers to one study in which one group ate oats for breakfast, another had cornflakes, while a third group had nothing to eat.

Interestingly, the only group that lost weight was the one that skipped breaky.

Many other studies have also shown that skipping the first meal of the day has little affect on weight change. For instance, one recent study of 300 participants found that regardless of whether a person skipped or ate lunch, their weight remained the same with only a fluctuation of half a kilo.

So why do people who skip breakfast lose or maintain their weight? Simply because they end up eating fewer calories throughout the day. Fewer calories in means less weight gain. It's a simple equation.

Does skipping lead to scoffing?

It's also been assumed that if you skip breakfast, you?re more likely to chow down on high-sugar, fatty foods later in the day. But even that assumption is being debunked.

A UK study from the University of Bath found that when comparing people who skipped breakfast with those who ate a hearty meal, their body weight, metabolic rate, cholesterol and blood sugar levels were the same at the end of the study as at the beginning.

Interestingly, the breakfast eaters were more active in the morning, burning around 500 calories. But they also ate 500 more calories than the breaky skippers.

As Gretchen Reynolds at the New York Times summarized, Contrary to popular belief, skipping breakfast had not driven volunteers to wolf down enormous lunches and dinners - but it had made them somewhat more sluggish first thing in the morning.

Eating breakfast: the verdict

The message here is clear: skipping or eating breakfast has little impact on your weight and health. So stick to your preference and focus on eating a nutritious, balanced diet throughout the day rather than worrying about the impact of your first meal.

A nutritionist , dietician , or naturopath can help you come up with healthy breakfast options.

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