Remember when your parents used to nag you about eating breakfast? It turns out they were on to something. Sure, skipping the first meal of the day may seem like a good plan when you’re on a path to lose weight, enhance your health and improve your overall wellness—after all, it’s calorie restriction! But it turns out you may be doing yourself more harm than good by cutting out breakfast. Want to know why you shouldn’t? Here’s six reasons:
It wrecks your body’s natural rhythms.
Whether you do intermittent fasting or not, your body has a natural fasting rhythm that kicks in after you’re done with dinner and works through the night until you wake up the next morning. If you skip breakfast, you’re depriving your body of nutrients it needs to get up and go—specifically, blood sugar to power your muscles and brain. Plus, your metabolism moves faster at the beginning of the day than at the end, and you need a certain amount of nutrients each day to keep your body running in peak form. Skip breakfast, and you run the risk of denying yourself nourishment, which can cause a whole host of problems. For example?
It may contribute to higher levels of dangerous inflammation.
Yup. Germany’s University of Hohenheim did a study testing 17 healthy adults through a variety of eating patterns on different days—one of which included skipping breakfast. The calorie and nutrient content remained the same on all three days. Not only did they find that the subjects burned more calories if they skipped lunch or dinner, they saw higher levels of glucose concentration along with markers of inflammation and higher insulin resistance on the days the test subjects skipped breakfast. But wait, there’s more: they oxidized more fat, which researchers took as a sign that there was an impairment in the body’s ability to switch between burning fat and carbs—and that leads to more inflammation.
Breakfast eaters may have lower rates of disease.
Not convinced yet? How about this: the American Heart Association reported that those who eat breakfast benefit from lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They conducted a panel with Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University, comparing studies of breakfast eaters vs. skippers—and not only did they benefit from less disease, but they were also less likely to have diabetes.
Your brain and body function better on brekkie.
Have you ever tried to do a presentation when you haven’t eaten breakfast? Or speak up at a meeting? Or even just get your day off on the right foot? You kind of feel like a foggy mess, right? Well, there’s a reason for that—your brain needs fuel to work, too. Researchers have found that those who eat breakfast do better on cognitive and memory tests. This can also explain why you find yourself feeling sluggish if you work out on a day where you skip breakfast—your body needs fuel to go! Plus, as the Washington Post reported, researchers from the University of Bath found that doing breakfast before you break a sweat helps you metabolize carbs better during and after you’re done your workout. It can also help with recovery.
Skipping can wreck your energy levels, too.
You might think that nobody is immune to the 3p.m. bonk, and it’s true that an afternoon crash can happen on even the healthiest of days. But it’s also true that skipping breakfast can aggravate energy crashes—and even move it up to earlier in the day. Remember, when you wake up, your body needs certain nutrients to get your day moving. Skip out on breakfast, and you’re denying yourself that boost of energy to start your day… and that means your 3p.m. bonk might hit you at 11a.m. instead.
It can also set you up for over-eating, which can affect weight loss goals.
On the surface, skipping breakfast seems like a good idea when you’re trying to lose weight—but your body might have other ideas. Diabetes.org found that people who eat breakfast take in less calories during the day. Why? Because when your body is satiated, you tend not to overeat later on when you give yourself the chance to fuel up—and you’re less likely to overeat on junk food. And don’t forget—if you kick your body into prolonged fasting mode, it stores food for survival.