Is it necessary for me to be concerned about not having breakfast?

Is it acceptable to begin the day without eating? Or could this leave you not only weak but craving unhealthy food?

Is breakfast truly the most crucial meal of the day? It probably depends on what you have planned for the rest of it. In the past, before the industrial revolution, most individuals had leftovers for breakfast, if they ate anything at all. In the 1920s, Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, popularized the modern combination of eggs and bacon through an advertisement campaign, while John Harvey Kellogg introduced his line of cereals to help prevent indulging in sinful behavior. However, with fewer people engaging in physical labor, does it still make sense to start the day with a substantial amount of protein or even a bowl of cereal? Does it matter if breakfast is skipped, and could there actually be health benefits to breaking the fast later in the day?

First, let us listen to the advocates for breakfast. Several observational studies, conducted across various populations globally (as opposed to controlled experiments), suggest that individuals who skip breakfast have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. There is also observational data showing that breakfast-skippers tend to choose less nutritious foods throughout the day, which is logical since skipping breakfast keeps levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin high and suppresses the satiety hormone leptin.

However, it is important to consider that there are many other factors involved, and confounding variables. For example, those who make a point to have breakfast every day may also pay attention to their overall health, while those who only have time for a coffee might not. But what if there was a population of individuals who deliberately skip breakfast while still prioritizing their health? Well, as it turns out…

“Skipping breakfast can be considered a form of ‘time-restricted feeding’ (TRF), as you narrow the ‘window’ during which you can eat,” explains nutritionist Drew Price. “There are numerous claims about TRF, such as improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation markers, and even enhancements to the gut microbiome. However, the direct evidence from clinical trials is still relatively limited, and there are many other factors to take into account.

“If I were working with someone who wanted a breakfast-skipping plan, I would emphasize their food choices more than ever. If someone is going from three meals to two, they must focus on making the right choices to ensure they still receive sufficient protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and all the other beneficial nutrients found in vegetables, such as phytochemicals. Of course, there are many who should not consider skipping breakfast at all, including those with a history of eating disorders, various health conditions, or children and the elderly – maintaining a steady energy intake throughout the day is advisable for several reasons.”

So, what can we take away from all of this? Disregard the advertising slogans and eat in a way that allows you to make the healthiest choices, in a sustainable manner. If that means having a couple of scrambled eggs and a pile of spinach at 7 am, excellent. But if all you need to make it to 11 am is a strong cup of coffee, don’t worry too much about it. Oh, and if a bowl of cornflakes can help steer you away from unhealthy cravings, then go for it – we could all use some help in the morning, after all.

Is it acceptable to begin the day without eating? Or could this leave you not only weak but craving unhealthy food?

Is breakfast truly the most crucial meal of the day? It probably depends on what you have planned for the rest of it. In the past, before the industrial revolution, most individuals had leftovers for breakfast, if they ate anything at all. In the 1920s, Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, popularized the modern combination of eggs and bacon through an advertisement campaign, while John Harvey Kellogg introduced his line of cereals to help prevent indulging in sinful behavior. However, with fewer people engaging in physical labor, does it still make sense to start the day with a substantial amount of protein or even a bowl of cereal? Does it matter if breakfast is skipped, and could there actually be health benefits to breaking the fast later in the day?

First, let us listen to the advocates for breakfast. Several observational studies, conducted across various populations globally (as opposed to controlled experiments), suggest that individuals who skip breakfast have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. There is also observational data showing that breakfast-skippers tend to choose less nutritious foods throughout the day, which is logical since skipping breakfast keeps levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin high and suppresses the satiety hormone leptin.

However, it is important to consider that there are many other factors involved, and confounding variables. For example, those who make a point to have breakfast every day may also pay attention to their overall health, while those who only have time for a coffee might not. But what if there was a population of individuals who deliberately skip breakfast while still prioritizing their health? Well, as it turns out…

“Skipping breakfast can be considered a form of ‘time-restricted feeding’ (TRF), as you narrow the ‘window’ during which you can eat,” explains nutritionist Drew Price. “There are numerous claims about TRF, such as improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation markers, and even enhancements to the gut microbiome. However, the direct evidence from clinical trials is still relatively limited, and there are many other factors to take into account.

“If I were working with someone who wanted a breakfast-skipping plan, I would emphasize their food choices more than ever. If someone is going from three meals to two, they must focus on making the right choices to ensure they still receive sufficient protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and all the other beneficial nutrients found in vegetables, such as phytochemicals. Of course, there are many who should not consider skipping breakfast at all, including those with a history of eating disorders, various health conditions, or children and the elderly – maintaining a steady energy intake throughout the day is advisable for several reasons.”

So, what can we take away from all of this? Disregard the advertising slogans and eat in a way that allows you to make the healthiest choices, in a sustainable manner. If that means having a couple of scrambled eggs and a pile of spinach at 7 am, excellent. But if all you need to make it to 11 am is a strong cup of coffee, don’t worry too much about it. Oh, and if a bowl of cornflakes can help steer you away from unhealthy cravings, then go for it – we could all use some help in the morning, after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *