Why Breakfast May Not Be the Most Important Meal of the Day After All


Breakfast in the cafe of a businesswoman

So you’ve heard it again and again that you shouldn’t skip breakfast because, well, it’s the most important meal of the day. It’s not exactly known who started that saying, but western society has seemingly accepted it as scripture. Is getting your daily scrambled eggs, OJs, and bowl of Wheaties really that important, though? New studies suggest that the first meal of the day may not be so necessary after all.

The Breakfast Myth Analyzed

So why is skipping breakfast a widespread taboo? Well, according to what some health gurus would have you believe, heading out the door without even a granola bar to take on the road is bad for several reasons:

  • Food is energy, and skipping your morning meal will have you moving like a sloth, similar to that 2:30 slump you get when a nap would beat out sex in the pleasure scale.
  • Skipping breakfast kills your metabolism. You’ve all heard about the importance of eating six times a day to keep your metabolism stimulated. Forgoing breakfast then, means a prolonged period on an empty stomach, which supposedly grinds your metabolism to a standstill.
  • If you’re a guy, skipping breakfast will shrink your muscles to the size of prunes. Muscles, after all, require calories. This has a lot of guys shivering in their gym shorts, scared that eschewing breakfast means loss of muscle earned through gut-busting efforts in the weight room.

So is there any element of truth to any of this, or is it all poppycock based on half-truths and pseudo-science?

The Truth May Shock You

Sure, when you skip breakfast, your stomach will echo its displeasure. Heck, you may even get a boner just thinking about food, but will you really feel sapped? One only needs to look at the experience of intermittent fasters, who often skip breakfast as part of their routine. While everyone’s experience is different, most feel that beginning their morning sans breakfast actually keeps their pep levels up, especially once their body adapts. Some foods, such as eggs, are also known to stimulate melatonin and serotonin, which induces that drowsy feel.

On top of that, more people are eating a higher protein diet and avoiding carbs like it was cooties. Too much protein is known to cause a condition known as ketosis, which depletes the body of potassium. Fatigue is a known symptom of ketosis.

The Real Correlation Between Breakfast and Metabolism

Slim woman measuring her waistline

What about all the talk about how skipping breakfast slows your metabolism? Yes, it’s true that metabolism slows to adapt to a body that’s taking in fewer calories. However, this only happens when your body enters starvation mode. By starvation, this means one of those stranded Bear Grylls scenarios where eating a plump, pus-filled larvae beetle becomes a survival necessity.

Occasionally skipping breakfast and a growling tummy, though, does NOT put your body in starvation mode. In fact, it does the opposite. Studies show that fasting actually has a thermogenic-enhancing effect.

Skipping breakfast also typically entails eating fewer calories overall, provided, of course, that you don’t over compensate by eating a monstrous or buffet-style lunch. Fewer calories and a supercharged metabolism means a flatter belly.

What Skipping Breakfast Really Does to Your Muscles

Men may really want to pay attention for this section. A lot of gym heads fear muscle loss as a ramification of eschewing a morning meal. Here’s the deal: muscle gain or loss is all about testosterone; the more you have the more muscle you put on, it’s that simple. Yes, you need calories to produce testosterone, but that doesn’t mean you need a constant supply every three hours. Studies prove that intermittent fasting, which often entails skipping breakfast, actually increases free testosterone by an astounding 180%!

With this in mind, fasting isn’t going to make your physique go from Dwayne Johnson to Pee Wee Herman, or from jock to pipsqueak. On the contrary, the reverse has proven to be the case.

Yes, Breakfast is Overrated

Now, this isn’t to make a villain out of the first meal of the day. By all means, have your milk and Lucky Charms. However, there is no reason to feel like you have sinned because you had a breakfast-less morning. All this talk about breakfast being the most important meal of the day is really just that – talk based on little substance.

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