You have probably heard the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It’s one of the biggest sayings that we hold true without giving much thought.
However, many of us still skip breakfast. According to the NPD group, 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day. As children, we grew up eating breakfast all the time (not always). It seems as we grow up we start eating breakfast less. According to the data, young males are more likely to skip breakfast than young females.
About 28% of males between the ages 18-34 skip breakfast, compared to 18% for females in the same category. After this the percentage of individuals skipping breakfast tapers off, with 11% of individuals over 55 skipping breakfast.
So what is causing people to skip breakfast?
The biggest factor is weight. Many feel that skipping breakfast can help them lose weight. One less meal out of the day means a lot less calories. That means skipping breakfast is good right?
The answer is… it depends.
First let’s delve into why the popular saying came to fruition. There are claims that people who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to die from cardiovascular related diseases. These researchers also claim that it will lead to elevated blood pressure and increased LDL cholesterol (the bad one) levels.
They also say skipping breakfast is a behavioral marker for things such as smoking, drinking, and physical inactivity. These health factors cannot be ignored. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death so think twice about skipping breakfast.
In this aspect, yes, breakfast can very well be the most important meal of the day. But many people are skipping breakfast for weight loss. In essence, they want to look good.
Pros of Skipping Breakfast
Many articles delve into weight loss when discussing if skipping breakfast is a bad thing. In the past, people were claiming skipping breakfast can actually lead to weight gain.
How you might say? Well since you skipped breakfast, you will be hungrier throughout the day. Not only will you have a larger lunch, but you will have a bigger dinner. These individuals also say that your metabolism will slow down because you aren’t kick starting it in the morning.
However, if you are familiar with intermittent fasting, then you may know that these claims aren’t necessarily true. Many individuals who practice intermittent fasting have received weight loss benefits.
Moreover, new studies have shown that individuals don’t really overeat later on in the day. A study involving 309 overweight individuals followed their weight loss over four months. The results indicate there was no difference between breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers.
Eating breakfast or skipping it will end up with the same result. So the weight loss depends on how well the individual does the rest of the day and with exercise.
In some individuals, skipping breakfast will result in a net loss of calories which can lead to weight loss.
Pros of Eating Breakfast
As mentioned earlier, skipping breakfast can increase risk for cardiovascular disease. There are other reasons to eat breakfast. Eating a modest breakfast can help engrain portion control into your habits. Because breakfast skippers tend to eat slightly larger meals, portion control becomes harder and in those instances of eating out, those meals become even more dangerous.
Another benefit of eating breakfast is that it’s filling. That means eating less throughout the day. A high protein and fiber breakfast takes longer to digest so you will feel full longer.
A nutritious breakfast can also improve performance in morning/afternoon workouts. This goes without saying but a good breakfast will fuel and optimize your workout. Breakfast will not only provide fuel for your workout but your day in general. Instead of feeling hazy and hungry in the morning, your cognitive abilities will be its sharpest.
Let’s think about the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. While breakfast is important, it may not be the most important meal of the day. Yes the health benefits of eating a nutritious breakfast are there, but eating healthy all day is key to being healthy. Also, if weight loss is your goal, then skipping breakfast can definitely be an option. When it comes down to it, breakfast can be optional, but taking a little extra time in the morning can only provide benefits.