Here’s Why You Should Stop Skipping Breakfast Every Morning
Most important meal of the day or totally fine to skip? Debatable, apparently. Either way, here’s what happens when you do.
Thanks to overnight fasting, your muscle glycogen levels are at their lowest when you wake up. Hit the gym early and research shows you’ll better tap into your fat reserves. But if weight loss isn’t your goal, skipping breakfast could spell bad news – even if you’re only doing boot camp after work. A study by Loughborough University found that participants who missed a morning meal didn’t perform as well during evening workouts. Proof, if it were needed, that food really does fuel your fitness.
If you swerve breakfast, you’re also more likely to smoke, drink heavily and work out less, found a study by the University of Helsinki. But the link between breakfast and a lean body may simply be behavioural – breakfasters tend to have a more balanced diet overall, says dietician Emer Delaney. Start with something light and you’ll soon see the benefits.
Research in the Journal of Nutritional Science found that overweight participants who skipped breakfast lost fat, but had higher cholesterol compared with those eating frosted corn flakes. However, new studies suggest sugar is a bigger factor in heart disease than cholesterol – meaning flakes could be worse than flaking.
The idea that simply eating breakfast alone will give your metabolism a boost is a myth: you won’t get shredded with processed cereals. It’s the quality of the kilojoule that really counts, says PT David Kingsbury. So opt for a protein-packed breakfast of champions, including eggs, oats or yoghurt, which the University of Missouri found can limit fat storage. Winning.
Just woken with the realisation that the day is about to punch you in the face? Hit back by tucking in at 8am. That’s when the stress hormone cortisol peaks and a balanced breakfast can help take the edge off, says Kingsbury. Plus, a University of Missouri study found habitual breakfast dodgers also have lower stocks of the reward chemical dopamine, making them more likely to load up on sugary food to get the hit.