Research Explains the Science Behind Skipping Breakfast to Lose Weight

Research Explains the Science Behind Skipping Breakfast to Lose Weight

skipping breakfastHealth

For many years, the belief has been that skipping breakfast is detrimental to your health and weight loss. It turns out, however, that the opposite can be true. Not eating breakfast can help you lose weight if you do it correctly.

People who skip breakfast consume around 260 fewer calories every day. This can result in losing a couple of pounds each month, which can make a dramatic difference. If you pair it with other healthy options, you’ll be sure to reach your weight loss goals.

Other theories about skipping breakfast included that skipping it may deplete energy levels and productivity. These theories have been disproven, as well, as research now shows there is no correlation between breakfast and energy levels.

After being told for most (or all) of your life that skipping breakfast can cause weight gain, this new information may be hard to believe. Luckily, studies offer valuable information regarding how not eating breakfast can help you lose weight.

The Science Behind Skipping Breakfast to Lose Weight

Not eating breakfast has many health benefits, and weight loss is a big one. One reason for this is intermittent fasting, which is when you go without food for 16-18 hours. By skipping breakfast, you will be saving calories for later in the day and consuming fewer calories overall.



skipping breakfast
Plus, there are additional benefits to intermittent fasting that aid in weight loss. These benefits include an increase in human growth hormone or HGH. This hormone helps with weight loss because it helps with losing fat and gaining muscle.

Another benefit is that skipping breakfast leads to more stable insulin levels, too. It improves insulin resistance, allowing your body to burn fat without exercising. During intermittent fasting, the neurotransmitter and stress hormone norepinephrine causes cells to break down more fat.

Not eating breakfast also helps with hunger suppression and appetite control. Additionally, many breakfast foods contain high amounts of sugar, even if they are marketed as healthy. For this reason, you will experience fewer cravings throughout the day, especially fewer sugary ones.

It was once believed that skipping breakfast would slow down your metabolism, but this is not the case. Instead, there is no difference in the metabolism of someone who eats breakfast and someone who does not. With this being the case, it can no longer be said that not eating breakfast could cause weight gain.



This was all discovered through a series of 13 randomized studies of people from different countries. In all instances, it was found that those who eat breakfast consume more calories each day than those who skipped it.

All of the countries included in this study were high-income ones so that the comparisons would be fair. Furthermore, all participants’ breakfast content had to follow guidelines, including the timeframe it was eaten in.

After seven weeks, the results of the study were clear. No matter if the participant was overweight or of normal weight, those who ate breakfast gained more than one pound. Likewise, the non-breakfast group lost weight during the trial as they consumed fewer calories overall.

This does not mean that everyone should skip breakfast to lose weight, however. If you do not think you can get all of your essential nutrients in your later snacks and meals, you should not skip breakfast.



The Nutrition You Might Miss if Skipping Breakfast

The National Institutes of Health published a study that shows people who skip breakfast tend to miss out on valuable nutrients and vitamins. These nutrients and vitamins include:

  • vitamin D
  • calcium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc

When these nutrients are deficient, you could experience insomnia, depression and be more susceptible to infection. So, if you choose to skip breakfast, be aware that you have to consume more nutrients later in the day.

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Read these four tips for a more productive morning.

So, Should You Skip Breakfast?

This answer depends solely on your lifestyle and health habits. As stated before, if you do not think you can make up the nutrients in your later meals, you should not skip breakfast. On the other hand, if you are confident you will make up the difference, it may be an option.

Pay attention to the snacks you choose later, too, after you have skipped breakfast. If the snacks you are choosing are healthy, that is perfect. It is a good indicator that skipping breakfast is the right option for you.



However, if you choose anything lacking protein or other nutrients, your snack may be evidence that you should eat breakfast. This signifies that you won’t make up the nutrients, and you’ll likely crave sugar often throughout the day.

If you are diabetic, hypoglycemic, or pregnant, you should eat breakfast every day. It is important for your glucose levels and should not be skipped.

A good rule to follow is if you are hungry in the morning, you should eat breakfast. If you are not hungry, you can skip it.

Other Things to Consider

When you skip breakfast to lose weight, you have to remember that the rest of the day counts, too. You have to consider portion control at meals and choose nutrient-rich snacks. If you skip breakfast but then indulge in unhealthy junk food for the rest of the day, it will not work.

Plus, you have to make sure your lunches and dinners are relatively healthy. This is so you can make sure you make up for the nutrients lost in the morning. You can increase your portion sizes, however, so that helps make up for much of it.

Five More Surprising Benefits of Skipping Breakfast

Surprisingly, weight loss is not the only benefit of not eating breakfast. There are many other benefits, as well. These benefits include:

  • anti-aging hormone increases
  • boost in mental alertness and ability to focus
  • more energy
  • you will be able to eat larger lunches or dinners
  • treats will be easier to allow into your diet

Anti-Aging Properties

Aside from anti-aging hormones increasing when you skip breakfast, there are other anti-aging properties, as well. This includes a process of cellular cleansing, which helps eliminate dead or damaged cells and the products they leave behind. Those damaged cells cause aging and diseases related to aging to set in more quickly.

Boost in Mental Alertness and Ability to Focus

Believe it or not, it takes quite a bit of attention from your body to digest food. By forgoing breakfast, you are allowing your mind to focus on mental and creative processes.

An Increase in Energy Levels

There are a couple of reasons that skipping breakfast leads to an increase in energy levels. The first reason is that many breakfast foods contain high amounts of sugar and carbs.

Even foods that are portrayed as healthy breakfast options are often not entirely healthy. Eating these foods may increase energy initially, but an energy crash will happen shortly after. This will leave you feeling even more tired than if you had skipped breakfast.

The other reason that not eating breakfast increases energy levels is because it burns stored body fat. When body fat is used instead of sugar for an energy increase, it works much better. It helps keep your energy level stable all day, without the usual crash that follows a sugary breakfast.

Ability to Eat a Larger Lunch or Dinner

While you still won’t want to overeat, you can eat a bigger meal later on. You will be able to increase your portion size to make up for any lost nutrients. Plus, if your favorite dinner is on the menu, you won’t have to feel bad for going back for seconds.

Room for Treats

Like with eating a larger meal later in the day, not eating breakfast allows room for treats. You won’t want to indulge all of the time, but it is wonderful once in a while. If you skip breakfast, a treat is less likely to put you over your calorie goal.

If You Can Not Skip Breakfast

Some people cannot skip breakfast. Whatever the reason is for this, this method of weight loss is not for everyone. If that is the case, there are other options.

Breakfast should be about healthy foods and giving your body a healthy start. This means you should not choose foods with high amounts of sugar. Pancakes and anything else that you cover with syrup is out.

You should also try to avoid high amounts of carbs. Instead, choose healthy options such as eggs, avocado, whole grain toast, nuts, and fruits. If you do this, you will still experience the weight loss benefits of skipping breakfast.

skipping breakfast
Final Thoughts on Understanding the Science Behind Skipping Breakfast to Lose Weight

So, contrary to long-term belief, skipping breakfast can help you lose weight. As long as you get all of your essential vitamins and nutrients, you will experience the benefits. The choice is entirely up to you, and it does not matter if you switch it up, either.

If you like breakfast, go for it. Just make sure to choose healthy options so that you can still lose weight if you want to. Healthy options will also help you later in the day.

However, if you want to try skipping breakfast, you can experience weight loss and many other benefits. The choice is up to you. Now that it is known, breakfast is optional when it comes to your health.



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Sarah Barkley is a lifestyle blogger and freelance writer with a degree in Literature. She is experienced in all things related to parenting, marriage, and life as a millennial parent, but loves to learn new things and will take on any topic. When she isn't writing, she is immersed in a book or watching Gilmore Girls.

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