Should you Skip Breakfast or Not?

Should you Skip Breakfast or Not?

How often do you hear your parents asking you not to skip your breakfast? Every morning. That’s right! But, is that how it should be? The crowd is definitely divided into two when it comes to breakfast - one believes that it happens to be the most important meal of the day and the other thinks that it is okay to skip breakfast. We will discuss both perspectives in this article while busting some common myths in the process. 

What is the purpose of breakfast?

The purpose of breakfast lies in its name - BREAK-FAST - breaking the overnight fast. Breakfast is your first meal of the day, regardless of when you eat it. It gets you started for the rest of the day and serves three very important functions:

Energy source: Breakfast gives you the energy to keep you going through the day. It replenishes your supply of glucose, which is a main source of energy and increases your energy levels and alertness.[1]

Nutrition: Breakfast serves the purpose of fueling your body with proper nutrition. A good breakfast is packed with proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibre, and several vitamins and minerals that will be required and utilised by your body throughout the day.[2]

Blood sugar control: Eating foods rich in fibre for your breakfast has the potential to improve blood sugar control and even prevent low blood sugar between meals.[3] 

Perspective 1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

This simply happens to be the most favourite line of breakfast cereal makers. Many experts claim that breakfast is good for you because studies have shown that breakfast eaters tend to be healthier. One of the studies shows that breakfast eaters have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. Additionally, a systemic review of 15 cohort studies involving over 4 lakh participants indicated that regular breakfast habits - 7 days a week - can reduce the risk of cardiovascular, metabolic and other specific diseases such as: [4]

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Cardiovascular-related death
  • Hypercholesterolemia

According to a research conducted, where the breakfast habits of 350 American adults were noted, it was found that people who ate breakfast regularly gained an average of about 3 pounds over a year. Whereas, people who occasionally ate breakfast gained about 5 pounds and those who skipped breakfast gained 8 pounds over the same time period. Although the exact relationship between breakfast and weight has not been established, it is likely that breakfast may influence your appetite control throughout the day and you may be less likely to gain weight.[5] There are studies that indicated that irregular breakfast can decrease satiety thereby leading to eating more at lunch. This tends to increase the production of hunger-related hormones, which are associated with higher glucose responses and obesity. [4] [6] 

Breakfast also helps with the cognitive development of school-going children. Studies suggest that breakfast consumption can improve the cognitive function of growing children in terms of their memory, test grades, school attendance and overall performance.[7] Therefore, school-going children must be encouraged to eat their breakfasts every day. It is also vital for pregnant women to have their breakfasts regularly. Breakfast consumption gives them several nutrients that are required for fetal development and the prevention of any pregnancy-related complications.[8] Studies even showed that women who consumed breakfast only 3 times a week or less were exposed to the risks of developing type 2 diabetes in comparison with women who had their breakfast regularly.[9] Several studies indicated that skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adults.

Perspective 2: It is okay to skip breakfast

Commonly it is understood that skipping breakfast may make you hungry leading you to overeat in the latter part of the day. However, there are some studies that show that skipping breakfast does not lead to weight gain. A 4-month long study was conducted for 309 obese men and women, who were recommended to either eat or skip breakfast. The result of the study was that there was no difference in weight between the two groups. This study is supported by a few other studies that show no impact on weight change related to either eating or skipping breakfast.[10 [11]  

Skipping breakfast may also have some health benefits. It happens to be a common part of many intermittent fasting methods. Intermittent fasting includes a 16/8 method which comprises 16 hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour window for eating, which usually ranges from lunch to dinner. Studies show that intermittent fasting can lower “bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels.[12] Intermittent fasting has also shown to be effective in reducing calorie intake, improving metabolic health and increasing weight loss.[13] [14] [15] However, you must note that intermittent fasting does not suit everyone. While some have shown the aforementioned health benefits, a section of people also tends to develop headaches, lack of concentration and drops in blood sugar levels.[16]  

What is the best time to eat your breakfast?

Ideally, you should eat your breakfast within 2 hours of waking up, if you are someone who does not skip breakfast. If you are someone who hits the gym in the morning then eating something light or eating food rich in carbs before your workout may work for you. [17] But having said that, if you feel that you can work out better in a fasted state then it’s your choice to make. 

What does a perfect breakfast look like?

A perfect breakfast is a combination of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and fiber. Consumption of carbs in the morning can improve performance throughout the day by giving you an early energy boost. Glucose, which is a group of carbohydrates, breaks down into energy to help you get started. However, it also exposes you to an insulin spike very early in the day. This is why it is important to incorporate fiber into your breakfast. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, preventing your blood sugar from spiking and falling. It is best to consume complex carbs in the morning since they keep you full for a longer time as they take more time to digest. Fiber also helps in slowing digestion. Healthy fats are also helpful in keeping you satiated. They are good for your heart and reduce cholesterol levels. Adding protein to your breakfast will aid muscle health and slow the release of ghrelin (hunger hormones). 

Final Verdict

So, is it okay for you to skip breakfast? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The whole idea about breakfast revolves around what works best for you. For pregnant women and growing children breakfast is a very important meal in the day. For an adult, if you can divide the overall calorie intake throughout the day then whether you skip breakfast or not, it won’t make a difference. If you are someone who feels hungry and likes to eat breakfast then just go for it! And, if you are someone who wakes up late or avoids it because of intermittent fasting or just because you don’t like breakfast, you can skip it as long as you can manage to make it through the day. Your breakfast habits should normally depend on your lifestyle.

If you are someone who wants to have breakfast but cannot make the time for it, you can try Happy Ratio All-In-One Health Shakes. It contains 39 essential nutrients that your body requires on an everyday basis and keeps you satiated for 3-4 hours. You can find our health shakes here

References:

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24898233/ 

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986439/ 

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001239/#bib28 

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8568444/ 

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18346309/ 

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27305952/ 

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15883552/ 

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30896420/ 

[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32020171/ 

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24825781/ 

[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24898236/ 

[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34633860/

[13] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23582559/ 

[14] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24993615/ 

[15] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25540982/ 

[16] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24101899/ 

[17] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1757304/ 

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