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03 July 2024

Breakfast; to skip or not to skip?

 

For years, we’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a necessary ritual to kickstart our metabolism and fuel our morning activities. But what happens when you skip breakfast? Is it a health blunder or a beneficial habit? Let’s delve into the science and explore whether skipping breakfast is really as bad as it’s made out to be.

 

TL;DR – No, skipping breakfast is not bad. BUT, it puts more pressure on you to eat well in your other meals.

 

Historical Context

 

Historically, the concept of breakfast has evolved significantly. In medieval times, breakfast was often considered unnecessary and even gluttonous by the clergy. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that breakfast became more structured, with labourers needing a substantial meal to sustain themselves through long work hours. The advent of breakfast cereals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, heavily marketed by companies like Kellogg’s, cemented breakfast as an essential meal in the Western diet.

The world’s longest-running health journal ‘Good Health’ advocated eating cornflakes for their health benefits. It also inferred eating things other than cornflakes would open the door to ‘sinful urges’. Good Health was of course edited by John Harvey Kellogg, and the magazine was founded by his church.

 

The Case for Breakfast

 

Many proponents of breakfast argue that it’s essential for maintaining energy levels and cognitive function throughout the day. Studies have shown that eating breakfast can improve concentration and task performance, particularly in children and adolescents. For instance, research published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience highlighted that breakfast consumption could enhance cognitive performance and mood, which is crucial for school-aged children and working adults alike.

 

The Weight Management Myth

 

One of the most persistent myths about breakfast is its purported role in weight management. Conventional wisdom suggests that skipping breakfast leads to overeating later in the day. However, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no significant difference in weight loss between individuals who skipped breakfast and those who didn’t. This suggests that the overall daily calorie intake and diet quality are more critical for weight management than whether you eat breakfast or not .

 

Metabolic Effects

 

When it comes to metabolism and insulin sensitivity, the evidence is mixed. Some research indicates that skipping breakfast can lead to poorer insulin sensitivity and higher blood sugar levels after subsequent meals. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that those who skipped breakfast had a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, especially if they had other metabolic risk factors. On the other hand, intermittent fasting, which often includes skipping breakfast, has been linked to various health benefits, including improved metabolic health, reduced inflammation, and enhanced longevity. For example, a study in Cell Metabolism demonstrated that intermittent fasting could improve insulin sensitivity and reduce markers of inflammation, even without weight loss.

 

Nutrient Intake

 

One concern with skipping breakfast is the potential for nutrient deficiencies. Breakfast can be an opportunity to consume essential nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, and minerals. According to a study in Public Health Nutrition, breakfast skippers often have lower intakes of these nutrients compared to those who eat breakfast regularly. However, this gap can be mitigated by ensuring nutrient-rich meals throughout the rest of the day.

 

Intermittent Fasting: A New Perspective

 

Intermittent fasting (IF), which includes periods of eating and fasting, often involves skipping breakfast. IF has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved metabolic markers, and even longevity. A study in Cell Metabolism demonstrated that intermittent fasting could improve insulin sensitivity and reduce markers of inflammation, even without weight loss.

 

Practical Considerations

 

If you’re considering skipping breakfast, it’s important to listen to your body and make decisions based on your personal health needs and lifestyle. Some people thrive without breakfast, feeling more focused and energetic, while others might experience fatigue and irritability.

If you do skip breakfast, ensure that your subsequent meals are well-balanced and nutrient-dense. This means incorporating a variety of whole foods, including lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, to cover your nutritional bases.

 

Conclusion

 

The decision to skip breakfast ultimately comes down to individual preferences and lifestyles. While breakfast can offer important benefits, particularly for cognitive function and nutrient intake, skipping it isn’t necessarily detrimental to your health. With proper planning and a focus on overall diet quality, skipping breakfast can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

Remember, the key is to find what works best for you and to ensure that your overall diet supports your health and wellness goals. Whether you’re a breakfast enthusiast or an intermittent fasting advocate, the most important thing is to maintain a balanced, nutrient-rich diet.

For those looking for a convenient and healthy breakfast, our ‘English Breakfast’ Pot of Gold and Wrap are high protein, low sugar and ready in 3-6 minutes.

If you’re a ‘skipper’: Our complete range of Pots O Gold, Wraps or Ready Cooked Chicken is balanced and loaded with the goodness you’ll need for brunch, lunch and throughout the day.