Should you eat breakfast every morning?

Eggs and a biscuit or cereal and yogurt? Find out what the best breakfast routine is for your specific needs.

 

Question:

I find it easier to meet my calorie goal if I skip breakfast. My research into whether breakfast is actually important or not has led me to a lot of articles about intermittent fasting – will it be good for my weight loss goals, or hinder me?  As a side note, when I tried frequent eating (3 small meals with 2 snacks) I gained 5 lbs in a couple weeks. “Stoking” my metabolism definitely did not work for me.   5’4″ 150 lbs aiming for 125 lbs

-Angela F.

 

 

Answer:

You can adjust the traditional timing of meals to suit your schedule and appetite while meeting a calorie goal. Research supporting the benefits of a balanced breakfast shows an overwhelming positive result for health and mental functioning.* Yet for weight loss, it depends on the rest of the day’s intake. Making up for lost calories by over-consuming later doesn’t decrease overall energy intake. Another consideration is that some people just don’t feel good eating after rising in the morning and need to wait a couple of hours.

Good Morning

That said, you specifically asked about intermittent fasting. Many people have found a benefit to intermittent fasting for weight control. As an alternative to continuous caloric restriction (dieting), intermittent fasting allows an individual to rotate between periods of fasting and non-fasting. While the overall effect may be an equal decrease in total energy consumption, intermittent fasting may have a stronger benefit toward health and longevity.  Yet for weight loss, the results are about the same.

Those who are not successful at dieting’s “moderation,” mild restriction, or reduced portions may fare better with an on-off eating style temporarily. Rebound over-eating later (as the body attempts to fill an energy deficit) is a common obstacle. That’s a major reason why cycles like these fail.  Weight loss is only successful if regular healthy meals and beverages are consumed on non-fasting days. Behavior change is critical to long-term success.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

You should always contact your primary care physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. If you have blood sugar problems, you should monitor your glucose closely and adjust your intake!  Your doctor may need to modify your medication as well.  Also to note:  if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, have chronic stress or cortisol dysregulation then you are better off avoiding fasting.

 

 

References

*The benefits of breakfast cereal consumption: a systematic review of the evidence base. Williams PG. Advances in Nutrition 2014 Sep 15;5(5):636S-673S.  doi: 10.3945/an.114.006247

The effect of breakfast composition and energy contribution on cognitive and academic performance: a systematic review. Edefonti V, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2014 Aug;100(2):626-56.   doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.083683.

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