“It’s the most important meal of the day!” Breakfast’s status as the crucial start to your day refuses to go away. From an early age, we’re told we can’t skip it. It’s pervasive throughout all cultures, every parent convinced their kids – and was convinced themselves – that something has to be consumed right after waking, or somehow their whole day will be thrown off.
To say it’s a misconception is an understatement. There’s no reason why you have to eat first thing in the morning.
Let me be clear, I’m not advocating against breakfast foods. There’s nothing wrong with those. Instead, it’s important to emphasize that not eating in the morning won’t somehow sink the rest of your day.
There is, however, one potential downside to skipping breakfast. Specifically, it’s posited that breakfast skippers tend to overcompensate for the early meal by eating more than usual throughout the day.
The assumption has some basis. Specifically, research1 from the University of Warsaw found that a cross-section of four studies indicated that “eating breakfast is associated with a reduced risk of becoming overweight or obese and a reduction in BMI.”
However! This is as strong as the pro-breakfast argument gets. Further, the same 2010 study specified that “… almost all of the data in this review were gathered from observational studies, thus, causality should not be assumed based on these findings.”
In plain language, the researchers aren’t sure that eating breakfast was the cause of the reduced risk of becoming overweight! Subjects experienced both conditions at once, but nothing indicates that one caused the other.
On The Contrary
Further, there is ample research pointing in the other direction.
For example, a 2014 study2 showed that subjects who were asked not to consume breakfast for an entire week “consumed significantly less energy and carbohydrates” later in the day. An effect which will, over time, lead to fat reduction.
Clearly, the research is inconclusive, to say the least. With evidence pointing in both directions, a common sense approach is worth consideration.
One explanation for the possible BMI increase in breakfast skippers – as noted above – is their tendency to overeat through the rest of the day.
As a takeaway, consider how that explanation may apply toward your habits. If you usually eat an early meal, you might overcompensate for that meal on a day you skip it.
This isn’t a groundbreaking conclusion once you consider it. Basically, when you deviate from your usual eating habit, you may react irrationally and binge.
While inconclusive, if there’s one thing that the research points to for sure, it’s the age-old cliché; everyone’s different.
When it comes to breakfast, individual responses vary the same way they do in other fitness and nutrition matters. Hence, if you’ve always eaten breakfast in the morning, keep eating it in the morning, if you usually skip it, there’s no “scientific” reason why you have to start.
As long as you get all the nutrients you need for the day, it doesn’t matter what time you consume them!
Skipping Breakfast For The Gym
Getting your workout in first thing in the morning? Although there is some research showing that presence of BCAAs prevents muscle loss, the studies are inconclusive.
However, if discussing omission of all nutrients, and not just BCAAs, the exercise type plays a role. Typically, you want to avoid any especially physically taxing exercise.
For example, high-intensity interval training or big compound movements are best left for times when you have some nutrients to work off of.
As a rule of thumb; if it requires strenuous effort, you may want to avoid it before you eat your first meal.
I never stressed breakfast’s importance. I didn’t pay attention to it like everyone else seemed to. However, I always gravitated toward food after waking up.
Around two years ago, while on a bulk, I made breakfast a bonafide dietary staple. I’d have my meal prepared for the morning and would eat it as soon as I’d brush my teeth.
Long story short, I went from feeling indifferent about breakfast to making it my favorite meal.
Fast forward to my discovery of intermittent fasting, and things look a lot different now. I don’t eat at 7AM, in fact, most days I don’t eat until noon.
The benefits of intermittent fasting are well known, but that’s not the point of this article. Instead, what I’d like to emphasize is how easy it is to adopt to any lifestyle if you’re truly committed to the task.
I loved eating breakfast at the “traditional” time. I was in great shape then. But since switching to a later time, my fitness levels are just as good, if not better.
Skipping Breakfast, Enjoying The Foods
As I mentioned above, during my bulking stage breakfast became my favorite meal of the day.
No, there’s nothing magical about eating at 7AM, so it wasn’t the time of day that enamored me. I simply enjoyed the food.
As an example, I’ll list some breakfast staples you can enjoy as an early meal or later in the day.
- 5 Egg Veggie Scramble with Fruit Salad
- Protein: 35 Grams – Carbs: 30 Grams – Fat: 25 Grams – Calories: 510
- Pam Non-Stick Spray
- Eggs (5)
- Mushroom (85 Grams)
- Green Onion (14 Grams)
- Fruit Salad
- Apple (Whole Apple)
- Cucumber (Full Cucumber)
- Squeezed Lemon
- Yogurt with Almonds, Raspberries, and Psyllium Husk
- Protein: 27 Grams – Carbs: 27 Grams – Fat: 26 Grams – Calories: 440
- Whole Raw Almonds (30 Grams)
- Whole Fat Yogurt (200 Grams)
- Raspberries (30 Grams)
- Psyllium Husk (3 Grams)
- Yogurt with Steel Cut Oats and Raspberries
- Protein: 29 Grams – Carbs: 69 Grams – Fat: 15 Grams – Calories: 525
- Whole Fat Yogurt (200 Grams)
- Steel Cut Oats (80 Grams)
- Raspberries (30 Grams)
As it turns out most often, breakfast is no exception to the “individual results may vary” cliche. Research points in either direction and results on either side of the spectrum aren’t definitively certain of the produced results.
Hence, the best course is to stick to what’s been working for you. If you’re an early meal person, there’s no reason to stop enjoying your eggs in the morning. If you’ve always skipped breakfast, stick to that.
Your health is impacted by the nutrients you take in throughout the day. The time during which you eat them doesn’t make a difference!