You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But many smart dieters are skipping breakfast to lose weight. It’s true. For some people, not eating breakfast is actually a better way to slim down. But this trick doesn’t work for everyone. The best breakfast plan for you depends on your food choices, your schedule, and your total meal plan for the day.
Skipping Breakfast to Lose Weight: The Downside
Skipping breakfast might mean that you miss out on some important weight loss benefits. Researchers have found that people who lose weight and keep it off are generally those people who eat a healthy breakfast.
Eating breakfast might help you lose weight in a few different ways.
- Eating a calorie-controlled breakfast can help to curb late morning cravings. These cravings may lead to unhealthy food binges when the only food available is high-calorie junk food from vending machines or fast food restaurants. These foods are likely to be high in sugar, high in starch (leaving you hungry again soon after eating) and high in calories.
- Eating a modest breakfast and small meals throughout the day can help to reinforce portion control. Eating reasonable portions is not only a smart way to lose weight, it’s the most effective way to maintain your weight once you’ve reached your goal. If you stay satisfied with reasonable portions of food throughout the day, you reduce the chances that you’ll overeat later at lunch or dinner to make up for a lack of calories.
- Eating a healthy breakfast with lean protein and diet-friendly whole grains will help you to feel full and comfortable throughout the day. Protein takes longer to digest which helps your tummy to feel full for a longer period of time. And fiber helps boost satiety too. Foods with fiber help you to maintain steady blood sugar levels so you don’t get sugar cravings that derail your diet.
- Eating breakfast may improve performance during the morning or early afternoon workouts. Getting proper fuel before exercise sessions may help you to work harder during the routine and boost the number of calories that you burn.
For these reasons, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you divide your total daily food intake into four or five meals or snacks per day including breakfast. They do not, however, take the position that breakfast is necessarily more important than any other meal of the day.
How Skipping Breakfast Can Boost Weight Loss
Eating breakfast can be good for your diet. But the morning meal doesn’t cause weight loss. So for some people, skipping breakfast works better. Skipping breakfast allows you to save your calories for later in the day. For some dieters, this means that they consume fewer calories throughout the day and lose weight faster.
So does skipping breakfast affect your metabolism? Probably not. Some weight loss experts used to say that skipping breakfast can cause your metabolism to slow down. But that myth has been busted. Several studies have shown that skipping breakfast has no effect on the total number of calories you burn throughout the day.
The Bottom Line: Is Skipping Breakfast Smart?
So should you wake up for a morning meal or should you skip breakfast to slim down? The answer depends on your lifestyle and your preferences.
If you skip breakfast and find yourself at the vending machine eating junk food later in the morning, then eating breakfast might be best for you. But if you’re trying to cut calories to lose weight and breakfast isn’t important to you, then skipping breakfast might work. You may be able to eat a healthy protein-rich snack and stay satisfied until lunch.
Whichever method you choose, it’s important to keep your expectations in check. If you eat breakfast to lose weight, then you need to monitor portion sizes and keep your breakfast calorie count in check. And if you skip breakfast to lose weight, you can’t overeat at lunch or dinner time to compensate. In the end, it’s the total number of calories you consume that matters -not the meal in which they are consumed.