Are you someone who regularly skips breakfast? For years we’ve been told that it’s the most important meal of the day and as a regular breakfast-avoider I got used to living with a nagging feeling that if I could just force-feed myself a steaming plate of porridge or some eggs in the morning, then I would be slimmer, more alert and altogether healthier. But is this true? Wherever you look you’ll find conflicting claims about whether a hearty meal first thing in the morning is the best way to set yourself up for the day, or a recipe for weight gain.
The argument for breakfast
You’ve probably heard the saying: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” The traditionalists tell us that breakfast avoiders are more likely to make hunger-driven bad choices in what they eat later in the day. A quick search on the internet will throw up all sorts of studies linking the avoidance of breakfast with poor health. These arguments have been around for years.
The argument against breakfast
But then along came the supporters of intermittent fasting and the studies which tell us that leaving a longer gap of fasting during the week or during a 24-hour period will help us lose weight, reduce the risk of diabetes and lead to all sorts of health benefits. They even tell us that intermittent fasting can help us live longer. There are a whole number of different ways you can try out intermittent fasting: the “5:2” diet, where you eat under 500/600 calories for 2 days each week and eat normally for the rest, or a version where you skip breakfast or an evening meal and do all of your eating in a 6-hour window. I have tried both these versions and yes I DID lose weight as long as I stuck with it. The first few days are pretty tough but it gets easier as your body adjusts to the new regime. Once I stopped the regime (just cos life got in the way…) the weight all came back on, and then some…
So what’s the way forward?
So the scientific jury is out on whether skipping breakfast is good or bad. Probably the best thing you can do is to experiment what works for you. If you’re going to try skipping breakfast (or your evening meal) and eating in a 6-hour window, it’s easier to build up to it gradually. You could try having your blood tested before and after 8 weeks of eating this way, to see whether your markers improve. Mine did.
But if you’re one of those people who just can’t face the day without a full stomach, or who is convinced by the studies which say that breakfast is good for your overall health, then I think the important thing is to question WHAT you’re eating. Processed meats are a big no-no (that’s something the scientists CAN agree on). Filling yourself up with bread, carbs and orange juice might be tempting but you know it’s going to lead to a blood sugar spike and leave you craving more carbs just a couple of hours later. So if you must have breakfast, start the day with something that is nutritious and wholesome. Maybe a natural yoghurt or kefir, flavoured with berries and some eggs or nuts for protein.
The choice is yours, but whatever you do, make healthy choices.
Latest posts by Johanna Lynch (see all)
- Should I Eat Breakfast? - February 12, 2018
- How and Why You Should be Adding Turmeric to Your Diet - January 15, 2018
- How to Meditate When You Have No Time - November 30, 2017