When I was a kid, my parents would rush me to eat breakfast before going off to school. My parents believed that eating breakfast was vital and was the only way to ensure I had enough energy to be productive at school.
Were my parents the only ones who valued breakfast? Of course not!
When you wake, your body is in a fasted state. Assuming that your goal is to reduce fat, eating breakfast early morning theoretically stops fat loss or “breaks-your-fast” at breakfast, so should you skip breakfast for faster fat loss?
In fact, breakfast is such an important part of everyone’s life that we make it a priority to eat first thing in the morning. We subconsciously hurry to eat breakfast before going to work, school, exercise at the gym or go off into the day.
Well, somewhere down the road we were taught to believe that breakfast is the “most important meal of day” and skipping it would crash your metabolism, drop your blood sugar to unhealthy levels, and that your body would cannibalize itself, go into starvation mode, and affect your thyroid health. YIKES!
Is this true? Will skipping breakfast slow you down, decrease energy, and work production? Absolutely not!
The Truth About Eating Breakfast
The truth is, you don’t have to eat immediately upon wakening. Actually, it is best that you don’t eat right away.
From a health and fitness perspective, we can all agree that we have a fat crisis, right? There are just way too many people carrying extra fat around. Now there are many contributing factors to this, but eating breakfast (first thing in the morning) is surely one of them.
Think of the word “breakfast.” It really translates to “break-the-fast.” In this case, the “fast” is when you are asleep (or were asleep) and no external calories were present in the blood during that time other than a little glucose (from liver glycogen) and triglyceride (from stored body fat) being used. This little fuel was used to keep you alive: breathing, dreaming, heart pumping, etc.
Where does eating breakfast fit into all of this?
Again, when you wake, your body is in (or should be) in a fasted state. Assuming that your goal is to reduce fat, eating breakfast early morning theoretically stops fat loss or “breaks-your-fast” at breakfast.
A quick note, in the absence of calories over a prolonged period of time or in this particular case, sleeping “hormone sensitive lipase” is metabolizing fat. And a lot of it! This is where the majority of true fat loss occurs when no food or calories are present in the blood stream.
Let me give you an example. Say Johnny slept for eight hours. He went to bed at 10pm and woke up at 6am. That’s 8 hours of sleep and true fat burning. Upon waking, John has 2 options. (1) He can head over to the fridge and “break-his-fast” with oatmeal and a glass of milk or (2) He can wait a while, 4-6 hours later and extend this fat state.
Now, assuming that John wants to lose some fat, which option do you think makes the most sense using this “context?” That’s right, option 2!
Wait, Should Everyone Skip Breakfast?
For the record, I am not suggesting that skipping breakfast is the “ONLY WAY” to lose fat because obviously there are other diets/strategies to nutrition that has proven to give people results, but I am simply introducing another perspective.
And I would argue that skipping breakfast makes a little more sense metabolically. But wait! I know what you are thinking, is this strategy only beneficial for losing fat? Not at all. In fact there are many additional health benefits.
Additional health benefits:
1. You give your stomach and pancreas a break from constantly secreting digestive juices (Hydrochloric acid and bicarbonate). Both aid in killing bacteria, mashing food particles, and neutralizing gut pH. The result is a healthier flow of juices and movement of food from point A to B.
2. You also give your pancreas an opportunity to recharge from secreting digestive enzymes and hormones. This rest aids in optimal enzyme secretion, food break down, and improved blood sugar regulation.
3. Skipping breakfast can also aid in “re-sensitizing” cells in utilizing glucose. In other words, your cells become more efficient at using glucose (carbs, sugar) and converting it into potential energy.
4. Lastly, skipping breakfast improves hunger control. Most people eat immediately once they hear/feel their stomach growling. Skipping breakfast will help control/reduce your hunger. Thus you only eat when your body is truly craving nutrition.
So, Should I Skip Breakfast For Faster Fat Loss?
If you still aren’t convinced with skipping or pushing breakfast back, then I recommend you try it for yourself and see what happens.
Remember, your body has plenty of stored liver glycogen, roughly 75-100 grams or 300-400 calories worth of stored glucose (energy) if you truly need it. Not to mention you have plenty of additional fat that you will be burning regardless of your body composition, lean or fat. So don’t panic, if you decide to skip breakfast, you have plenty of fuel reserves to cover you.
Again, don’t think that you should never eat breakfast again, but rather use this as a strategy to help burn more fat. Like I mentioned earlier, most people these days are carrying extra fat and eating breakfast isn’t helping them lose it – especially if that breakfast involves traditional sugary breakfast foods. Skipping breakfast can help. You can skip breakfast twice a week, 3 times, or 5 days a week (5 days a week is my goal). It keeps me in control, healthy, and fat off my body.
So slow down, holster your fork and burn some fat!