A mother’s warning of “don’t forget your breakfast” may feel outdated as we hurry along our busy adult lives. But you should always listen to your mother—especially in today’s 24/7 world. Research shows that eating breakfast helps to stabilize weight, mood, and attention, while reducing cravings throughout the day and improve long-term health. Let’s dive into the science behind breakfast skipping.
Breakfast Skipping and Weight
If you’re a Number Cruncher who tallies up every calorie, you might be tempted to cut out breakfast to save the calories for later. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t usually respond to this fasting in the way you desire. Breakfast is a way to kickstart your resting metabolism in the morning, and without it, you burn fewer calories—even if your routine is the same. Plus, skipping breakfast means you’ll be even hungrier for lunch or a snack, which can cause you to overindulge at later meals. Multiple epidemiological studies show a strong relation between skipping breakfast and weight gain,1,2 as well as increase in visceral fat.3
Breakfast Skipping and Long-term Health
It’s not just your waist that suffers when you miss out on breakfast—it can also affect your long-term health. Prospective research on middle-aged men suggests that eating breakfast can is not only beneficial for weight management, but also healthy blood glucose regulation4 and heart health.5
Breakfast Skipping and Concentration
If your day starts without breakfast, or with a simple high-glycemic carbohydrate breakfast, you may feel a sudden crash in energy, and loss of all attention and focus. Okay if you’re planning on watching TV all day, but not so great if you have a pile of work to do. Starting your day with a balanced breakfast that includes protein, healthy fat, and low-glycemic carbohydrates will help you to stay concentrated and productive until your stomach starts growling again. 6
As you know, not all breakfasts are created equally. Ditch the sugary cereal for a more balanced breakfast that included plant-based protein, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates. Skip the negative effects of missing out on breakfast and commit to making breakfast your #OneChange to stay healthy in 2014.
- Ma Y, et al. (2003). Association between Eating Patterns and Obesity in a Free-living US Adult Population. American Journal of Epidemiology. 158 (1):85-92. Accessed from: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/158/1/85.long
- van der Heijden AA. (2007). A prospective study of breakfast consumption and weight gain among U.S. men. Obesity. 15(10):2463-9.
- Alexander KE et al. (2009). Association of breakfast skipping with visceral fat and insulin indices in overweight Latino youth. Obesity.17(8):1528-33. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836758/
- Mekary RA. (2013). Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in older women: breakfast consumption and eating frequency. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 98(2):436-43.
- Cahill LE, et al. (2013). Prospective Study of Breakfast Eating and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in a Cohort of Male US Health Professionals. Circulation. 128: 337-343. Accessed from: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/128/4/337.long
- Cooper SB, et al. (2012). Breakfast glycaemic index and cognitive function in adolescent school children. British Journal of Nutrition. 107(12):1823-32.