Even though millions of Americans co-opt breakfast with a cup of joe, the effects of substituting breakfast with coffee aren’t routinely considered. The caffeinated charge that gives coffee drinkers an early morning rush can contribute to the feeling that it’s no big deal to wait until lunch to eat. But, there are several serious effects to consider, especially if weight loss is a goal.
1. Breakfast Eaters Lose Weight Faster
Although it seems counter-intuitive to calorie-counting consciousness, study after study has shown that people who eat a balanced breakfast lose weight quicker. The body functions best when it receives fuel at regular intervals, and upon waking, the body has been without food for quite awhile. Eating regularly actually boosts one’s metabolism, and that’s a surefire way to drop weight safely. 90% of the people who have lost 30 pounds and maintained the loss over a year eat breakfast at least 5 times a week.
2. Skipping Breakfast Puts the Body in Starvation Mode
When we wake up, we have essentially been fasting for anywhere from 8-14 hours. By morning, our bodies are depleted of glycogen. If this fasting state is continued, the body goes into what is essentially starvation mode, seeking to replenish glycogen stores from within. The body begins digesting itself, muscle first!
3. Breakfast Skippers Snack More
Not only is there a metabolic component to eating breakfast, but a satiety component as well. People who skip breakfast are much more likely to eat doughnuts, cookies and other snacks floating around the office when their hunger kicks in and their coffee wears off. And, while healthy snacking is an important part of a weight loss plan, offices rarely have plates of apples and carrots next to the coffee maker. Usually, it’s exactly the kind of foods a dieter should avoid that are available for mid-day munching: snacks high in simple carbohydrates and fat.
4. The Coffee Crash
Coffee drinkers know the rollercoaster caffeine cycle all too well: a rocket to the moon for a couple hours, and then potential burn-up on re-entry…unless you drink more coffee! This is because the half-life of caffeine is rather short, and the energy it provides is very different from, say, the energy from complex carbohydrates, a good night’s sleep, or a naturally boosted metabolism.
5. Athletic Performance Requires Food, Not Coffee
Research has proven that athletic performance suffers when there is not an adequate carbohydrate and protein resource for the body to draw from. And upon waking, the body is at its most depleted state. Coffee might provide focus, but the negative effects of working out on an empty stomach in the morning make the athletic performance much less effective.
Instead of slamming a few cups of coffee, drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. If you can’t bear to cook a full meal, mix a protein shake and toss some instant coffee in—voila, instant healthy mocha. If you don’t even have time for that, there are numerous pre-packaged breakfast shakes and meal replacement bars that are quick, convenient and healthy. The bottom line is that skipping breakfast and drinking coffee instead will only hinder your weight-loss goals in the long run.