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We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it really true?
Here’s the truth about missing meals.
You’d never do something to purposely hurt your body, but does skipping breakfast fall under this category or is this “most important meal” more of an old wives’ tale than a rule to live by?
Whether you’re the type who can’t stomach solid foods in the morning or you’re just trying to cut back on some calories, you’ve probably heard enough myths and rumors about skipping breakfast to write your own pamphlet.
Why Skip Breakfast?
So what’s the bottom line when it comes to skipping breakfast?
According to studies (1), 25% of Americans have made a habit of skipping breakfast every day.
This may seem problematic, since there are plenty of good reasons to grab a bite in the morning.
According to medical research (2), skipping breakfast can lead to snacking more than usual throughout the day, eating larger portions at your next meal, and making weight-loss or weight maintenance more difficult.
But do these facts mean that skipping breakfast is as dangerous as it’s claimed to be?
Articles abound questioning the legitimacy of what you’ve been told your whole life: “Eat breakfast every day!”
We’re looking at several claims regarding starting your morning with a healthy breakfast, and whether you should fret about skipping your first meal of the day.
Breakfast Eaters Have Healthier Eating Habits
Some experts say that eating breakfast literally “breaks the fast” of sleep and gets your metabolism up and running for the day.
This helps combat overeating and weight issues, which is a large problem affecting Americans.
This, in turn, makes skipping breakfast seem like a huge no-no when it comes to taking care of your body.
According to obesity rates and trends, this helps combat overeating and weight issues, which is a large problem affecting Americans.
Childhood obesity is also becoming an epidemic across the USA.
Obese children are turning into obese adults, leading to one of the more serious health problems affecting the 21st century (4).
On the other hand, if you regularly eat a healthy breakfast, you are less likely to become overweight or develop a chronic illness or disease (5).
That being said, those eating healthy breakfasts are likely to already be maintaining a healthy lifestyle in other aspects of day-to-day living.
A healthy breakfast will contribute to a healthy lifestyle, while a breakfast filled with bacon and deep fried potatoes will only add to your cholesterol levels.
Breakfast is only healthy for you if you make it so.
Does Skipping Breakfast Hurt Your Metabolism?
Breakfast stands for “breaking the fast” of sleep (6).
Some studies imply that you will also feel less sluggish when you start your day off with a healthy meal that boosts your body full of energy.
This means that you’ll be powering up your metabolism to run and digest food at a healthy rate by eating first thing in the morning.
This study (7) seems to undo myths on how skipping breakfast affects your ability to perform throughout the day or how many calories you can burn.
It suggests that eating or skipping breakfast has no overall effect on how many calories your body will burn in a 24-hour period.
But does skipping breakfast hurt your metabolism?
Edith Cowan University lecturer Dr. Therese O’Sullivan says there is no clear-cut evidence that breakfast has any significant effect on how your metabolism will run.
However, she quickly follows-up by saying that those eating breakfast daily seem to have a healthier, more fibrous diet than those who skip breakfast on a regular basis (8).
Will You Gain Weight if You Skip Breakfast?
No matter how much you wish it wasn’t so, a healthy, balanced lifestyle filled with daily exercise, portioned meals, and healthy food habits is always going to come in first place if you’re looking for a healthy, lean body.
Now that you know a healthy breakfast has been linked to maintaining your weight, you may be wondering: “Will I gain weight by skipping breakfast?”
In short, no.
One four-month study (9) on obese and overweight males and females researched this very topic.
Participants were asked to eat or skip breakfast during the course of the study to see whether or not this made a difference in their weight.
When the study concluded, the findings showed that there was no difference between those who indulged in breakfast or those who chose to skip it altogether.
Skipping Breakfast for Children
When it comes to children, skipping breakfast is an entirely different ballgame.
Children should always start their mornings off with a balanced breakfast to accommodate the needs of their growing bodies.
Studies show that children who skip out on breakfast often arrive late to or miss school, compared to those who have a regular morning meal (2).
Due to their ever-changing body and the influx of hormones, growing children need to recharge with healthy foods more often than adults do, making a healthy breakfast an absolute staple of their pubescent years.
When it comes to the so-called “most important meal of the day”, you can go ahead and stop feeling guilty about skipping a morning or two’s worth of eggs and porridge.
While there are many well-researched health benefits to starting your day off with a meal, there is no clear evidence saying that skipping your first meal will have any damaging repercussions.
So, is skipping breakfast really bad for you?
While eating a balanced breakfast may fill your body with the energy you need throughout the day, we all do well to remember that breakfast is only what you make of it.
If you eat a healthy breakfast, you’ll gain healthy benefits throughout the day, but if you find yourself skipping the oatmeal one morning, don’t beat yourself up over it.