Question: Is skipping breakfast bad for you?

Question and AnswerQuestion and Answer

It is unclear if skipping breakfast Will harm your health.

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Skipping breakfast is a pretty common thing that many people do nearly every day. In the United States, as many as 25 percent of us will miss this daily meal and it is the center part of many diets to include intermittent fasting. Spilling breakfast is much maligned in the world of nutrition and despite a lack of evidence, many medical and nutrition experts will tell you that is is harmful to you to miss the morning meal. If it is harmful, skipping should be a personal and public health concern for many Americans that are dieting.

So what is the truth? The truth is not as clear as many experts would like you to believe. The fact is that breakfast incorporates about 20% of your daily caloric intake. There is not scientific reason to think skipping it is harmful for our bodies. We are designed to be able to survive famines and periods with food is lacking so what difference does one meal make.

I am not saying that eating breakfast is not beneficial to our bodies. Eating breakfast is most likely beneficial to our bodies. Then again, people and their metabolism differ. No two people are the same. I think it is important to keep the diversity of people in mind when you explore the value fo breakfast and determine if is helpful or harmful.

The research on this topic is hit or miss. Some research indicates that eating breakfast is the key to a slim waist line. The problem is that this research indicates a link and not causality. There may be another factor that causes the weight loss or maintenance than the meal or time of the meal itself.

The key to weight loss and maintenance is satiety. Breakfast in general promotes satiety in the first half of the day. Not all breakfasts are the equal when it comes to satiety. We know based on prior research that people who skip breakfast tend to eat more calories later in the day. It would make sense that this would mean that they would gain weight, but the extra calories consumed throughout the day do not exceed those skipped at breakfast. Fasting In the morning, therefore, can result in few calories consumed through out the day.

On the other hand, research has indicated that eating a larger breakfast leads to more calories burned through that day. Also, skipping breakfast during a fast may lower the amount of calories burned in physical activity. This effect would seem to indicate A phenomenal way to lose weight, but this that skip breakfast ten to weight more. Once again, this is a link and not causality.

In the past, skipping breakfast was consider a sign of an unhealthy dietary and lifestyle, but this was based on conjecture or poorly performed research. The problem is simple. Most of the research is poorly performed. They are often too short in duration and are observational. Further confirmatory research is needed.

The bottom line: Skipping breakfast is unlikely to be harmful. Eating breakfast is probably beneficial, but not essential. Some evidence supports increased satiety in those that eat breakfast, but the same can true for those that skip it. Longer duration studies are needed to establish the effect of breakfast on health.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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