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Old 11-16-2011, 10:13 PM   #1  
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Default Is skipping breakfast really that bad?

The prevailing wisdom tells me that I need to eat breakfast and that it needs to incorporate protein, fiber and other nutrients in order to kickstart my metabolism and keep me going.

I listened to the wisdom and have been making myself eat breakfast for the past few months. A handful of raw almonds with no-sugar-added yogurt or just the yogurt or a banana is about all I can manage. I just don't feel like eating in the mornings, and making myself do so sometimes makes me feel nauseous or just "off". It also makes me really hungry all morning, which often leads me to pick snacks out of the snack bin at work, which generally has crackers, senbei or small pieces of chocolate.

My question is, how bad is it if I go back to not eating breakfast? When I skip it, I'm not ravenous for lunch and I don't end up snacking; I generally feel more in control of my eating throughout the day. If it's helping me maintain weightloss, is it really terrible to skip breakfast as long as I make sure I'm getting the vitamins, nutrients and calories I need over the course of the day?

Last edited by Kahokkuri; 11-16-2011 at 10:48 PM. Reason: I can spell, really!
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:31 PM   #2  
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I will be curious what the responses are to this. I happen to be an earlier in the day eater. That being said, I don't know if it matters much when you consume your calories just that you do.

I have a friend who is opposite of me. All her eating is more later in the day on.

I probably wouldn't push myself personally if I didn't want to eat, but I don't want to give bad or unhealthy advice because I have no real qualifications.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:34 PM   #3  
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WE all need to do what works for our bodies.

For me, there is now way I could skip breakfast. I work for a veterinarian and have a very physically active job. I eat a High protein breakfast. I get to work at 7:30 and depending on how the day goes, I might not get to eat until 12:30, if then, depending on whats happening.

Plus, I roll out of bed at 5:15 am. and I don't get off of work until 5 pm, if we don't have an emergency at work.

Whatever plan you choose to follow, has to work for you. It has to be reasonable, flexible, and fit into your current lifestyle, but it also needs to be portable, so when your life changes you can take your good habits with you.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:47 PM   #4  
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I've read so many articles that go both ways... I was researching because I had a similar concern. In the end I have to agree that you have to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.

I used to make sure I ate breakfast but like you my body went into a bit of a funk after, the opposite of what I wanted which was a boost to get the day going. I stopped eating breakfast and now just have an early lunch, works great for me and that's what counts.

As you mentioned as long as you get the goods your body needs when you do eat and not eating does not make you over eat later and it makes you feel better... I say listen to your body.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:56 PM   #5  
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I am definitely an advocate of doing what makes you feel good.

I am a full time nanny for two little boys so I have to eat something before I go to work or I get pretty light headed by snack time! I can't say that I enjoy breakfast, I don't like breakfast food no matter the time of day, but I feel better when I eat it.

If eating breakfast makes your day all wonky, don't do it! I'm with all the responders who said to do what works for your body! Everyone is different so the same measures cannot be used on all people.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:00 PM   #6  
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I was at my thinnest when I didn't eat breakfast. I'm back to not eating breakfast again and I feel better. I think it works for some of us.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:06 PM   #7  
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Thanks for the all the responses! I'm glad to hear advocates of "do what feels good," because even if breakfast is supposed to be a good thing, I just don't enjoy it (and it doesn't seem to benefit me like other healthy habits do).
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:10 PM   #8  
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There is no reason to eat breakfast at all if you do not have a massive urge to binge at lunch. No reason.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:39 PM   #9  
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I don't eat breakfast. I'm not hungry until much later in the day, so what's the point? I hate forcing myself to eat only to be desperately rationing calories later when I'm actually hungry! I've maintained my weight for over a year doing this... something I've NEVER been successful at while I was forcefeeding myself a morning meal. Listen to your body!
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:47 PM   #10  
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Not at all necessary. It's the total calories in vs. out that matter. I don't eat my first meal until 2 or 3 pm, and my last meal is usually at 10 or 11. If I listened to prevailing diet wisdom and forced myself to eat at 7 am and eat every three hours and stop eating after 7 pm, I never would have lost weight. Listen to your body. If you're not hungry in the morning, don't force yourself to eat. It will not hinder your weight loss in the slightest if you are consuming less calories than you burn. I'd suggest you check out Intermittent Fasting (leangains is a good place to start)
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:04 AM   #11  
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Originally Posted by slytherinanachronism View Post
If I listened to prevailing diet wisdom and forced myself to eat at 7 am and eat every three hours and stop eating after 7 pm, I never would have lost weight.
^^THIS!! And the reason I wouldn't have lost any weight is because I would have been so miserable I'd have given up pretty quickly. "The best diet is the one you can stick to" - so whatever works for YOU when it comes to weight loss is absolutely the way to go.
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:05 AM   #12  
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Here is a speech I wrote on the topic.

The most important meal of the day is your <pause> breakfast.
We've all heard it. Our parents told us, we learned it in a health class, health experts on TV have told us, and you probably read it on the internet.

And yet - how many of us have occasionally skipped breakfast?
Be honest... How many skipped it today?
Some of us would probably skip breakfast altogether if we didn't feel so guilty about it.

Fellow toastmasters and honored guests tonight I will examine why health experts say breakfast is important. According to wikipedia there are three main reasons. Your metabolism, your cognative ability, and your weight. Lets start with your metabolism.

You may have heard that breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day. To take it a step further you may have heard that if you miss a meal your body will sense there is a famine and go into "stavation mode". It is true that not eating will slow down your metabolism. A study done at the University of Rochester in 1987 showed that your metabolism slowed down
by nearly 8%. Aha! But ... it took 60 hours for this to happen. That's almost three days, with no food! In fact, the body's first response
to fasting is to speed up our metabolism. In a study in done in the year 2000 at the University of Vienna subjects were fasted and over a period of three days showed increases of 5-10% in their metabolisms as well as increased levels of adrenaline. All of this makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. If thereis no food our bodies react by giving us increased energy so we can go find some but if there is none to be found it slows things down so we can survive longer. For us tonight it is clear that eating breakfast or not is not a metabolism issue but what about breakfast fueling our brains?

There have been a lot of studies done on children's cognative abilities and breakfast and most say the same thing. Skipping breakfast impairs our brains. In 2009 The University of Leeds in the UK did a systematic review of 45 studies published between 1950 and 2008. They found the overall quality of the studies was poor, most had industry sponsership (Kellogs anyone?,) and the effects of not eating breakfast were more easily demonstrated on nutrionally at risk children. Regardless, it appears children do better even if only marginally in cognative testing by eating breakfast. But what about adults?

In 2008 the US Army did a double blind placebo controlled study where participants were fed only 300 calories over the course of 2 days. After being fed almost nothing for two days reaction time, learning, memory, logical reasoning were tested and were not adversely effected. It is hardly a leap of logic to conclude that for an adult missing breakfast weill have no effect of our brain's abilities. This leads us to the final reason breakfast is considered important, our weight.

Research demonstrates that those people who do not regularly eat breakfast are more likely to be overweight. But why? It's a good question. If you dig into the research people who skip breakfast seem to have less healthy eating habits. But wait, there's more. In 2009 a group from the Imperial College in London hooked people up to functional MRIs to measure brain activity and found that when skipping breakfast participants brain “reward” centers were
activated more by the sight of high-calorie than low-calorie foods. In otherwords, our brains are pushing us towards making a poor food choice when we miss a meal. Makes sense. In light of this if you skip breakfast be aware that you need to eat a healthy lunch dispite what your instincts and brain are pushing you to do.

In light of all these facts I ask Is breakfast truly important? Does it have unique metabolic and health-related benefits? It doesn't affect your metabolism. It doesn't affect your mental abilities. All we're left with is that missing a meal does make those high calorie foods look better.

Yet research does show that eating breakfast is correlated with good health. In other words those people who tend to eat breakfast tend to be healthier. However, one of the first things you learn in science is correlation is not causation.

In my opinion, the real reason that eating breakfast is correlated with good
health is because regular breakfast eaters maintain better dietary habits overall. Now I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

I haven't eaten breakfast in almost two years. I maintain good dietary habits I just don't eat until after noon. I'm not a breakfast hater. How could I be there are so many delicious breakfast foods I enjoy eating, in the afternoon or evening. My health? I brought my recent blood test in case you want to see it.

My point is simply this. Breakfast can be a healthy part of a dietary plan but it doesn't have to be. If you enjoy eating breakfast do it. If not, skip it, and don't feel any guilt about it.

Mr toastmaster
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:20 AM   #13  
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I think the biggest mistake in the field of weight loss as a whole, is treating weight loss as a one-size-fits-all endeavor.

The research is just starting to switch from "what works best (assuming everyone is the same" to "what works best for whom," (looking for ways to predict which strategies work best for which groups of people).

It's getting better, but even now, the mere suggestion to "experiment to see what works for you," is sometimes treated as if it were heretical advice (suggest making even the smallest adaptation to a popular weight loss program and in the wrong group, you'll almost face a lynch mob).

Personally, I define the word "breakfast" very literally - my first meal is breakfast (because it breaks the fast) whether I eat it at 5:30 in the moring or at 6:00 pm - whether I eat it within 15 minutes or 10 hours after waking up and I don't "time-base" my food choices. Pizza for breakfast - cereal for dinner - whatever.

I do tend to feel and function best when I eat within 3 hours of getting up, and when I eat frequent, small meals throughout the day (and don't let any of the meals be too carb-heavy, especially sugar heavy. I get very nauseous when I eat sugar on an empty stomach - so no donuts for breakfast ever).

Even as a young kid, I couldn't eat donuts for breakfast. I remember as young as 8 or 9, when my parents would take us out after church for donuts, maybe once a month or so, choosing the "french" style donuts (fried, airy donuts) because they were the lowest sugar/calorie donuts and because they were the only kind that didn't make me violently ill. Or, I'd order my donut, but would only drink the milk and would save my donut for later in the day when I could eat it without getting sick. It makes me wonder whether I had blood sugar issues even then (I'm type II diabetic).

From meeting people here and in in-person weight loss groups like Weight Watchers and TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly), and from experimenting myself, I've learned there are a lot of ways to distribute your calories throughout the day, and there is no best one that works best for everyone.

To find your best, you have to experiment,m and even then it's not written in stone. Your best pattern may depend on what you have planned for the day. I can postpone breakfast longer and can increase the time between meals on less-active days. If I'm going to the gym, skipping a meal beforehand usually isn't smart.

Being type II diabetic, there are a lot of variables I have to consider in determining when/what I should eat. The size of the meal, how long I'm going without eating, when I took my medication, how active I'm going to be, even the weather. Skipping meals during very hot, humid weather tends to put me at risk for lightheadedness and even passing out, which I learned the hard way about twenty years ago when I passed out in church (at the time Catholic) on a very hot day after skipping breakfast.

Last edited by kaplods; 11-17-2011 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:25 AM   #14  
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In Germany, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

They all eat homemade bread, hard boiled eggs, meats, cheeses (nothing sugary).

They all cringe when I don't want to eat breakfast, like I have some sort of disease, or like I may starve before lunch. Out of curiousity, are they also very serious about breakfast in Japan?

Even as a young child, I remember struggling to eat breakfast. We lived out in the country, so I would have to wake up super early. My Mother, being the caring woman she is, would feel embarassed if she sent her child to school without breakfast. So, every morning we would sit down and we would try to eat breakfast. It usually led to throwing up - not because I was mad at her, but because my stomach didn't like it. She even took me to the GP and then to a psychologist. Anyway, she eventually gave up and our morning became much more enjoyable.

Sometimes I do often feel ravenous for lunch. I give myself 500 calories for lunch. So, it can be a bit larger.

I also have always noticed that eating any type of breakfast actually makes me hungrier and snackier throughout the entire day. I wish I knew the reason for this.

Last edited by Unna; 11-17-2011 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:39 AM   #15  
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I appreciate everyone's continued insight. Knowing that there are other people out there making healthy choices and weightloss progress who have also given up breakfast is really helpful.

There are certainly days when I want breakfast, and I listen to my body on those days, but like some of you, I just don't feel good when I eat breakfast on a regular day.

Originally Posted by Unna View Post
Out of curiousity, are they also very serious about breakfast in Japan?
One of my town's ongoing campaigns is 「早寝、早起き、朝ごはん」–"Sleep early, wake early, eat breakfast"–and the homeroom teachers are known to check if their students have eaten breakfast. Although every family or person is different, on the whole, breakfast is a huge deal in Japan.
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