With the rise in popularity of intermittent fasting, it almost seems that breakfast is now a thing of the past. Many people skip the morning meal for strategic nutrient timing, others due to a busy schedule or a stomach that doesn’t really like to wake up immediately. Obviously to eat breakfast or not to eat breakfast is a question that depends mostly on a person’s lifestyle. But what are some reasons TO eat breakfast?
- Decreased postprandial hunger- studies indicate that people who eat breakfast generally have lower hunger levels later in the day compared to individuals who do not eat breakfast.
- Increased satiety hormones – eating breakfast is associated with reduced serum ghrelin (hunger hormone) and increased PYY and GLP-1 (satiety hormones) later in the day. This can greatly impact what or how much you eat for the remainder of the day.
- Improved sleep – research suggests that starting to eat earlier in the day may lead to higher levels of melatonin (sleep hormone) overnight. Study participants who started eating later in the day showed abnormal melatonin patterns, similar to those of individuals with night eating syndrome. Evening snacking tends to decrease sleep quality and time asleep. Further, sleep deprivation can increase hunger levels and caloric intake as well as impair fat loss.
If you want to reap these benefits of eating breakfast, it’s best to consume a solid or mixed foods breakfast (as opposed to a meal replacement shake) containing at least 350 calories and 30 grams of protein. A breakfast shake does not have the same satiety effect as a solid food breakfast of the same calorie/macronutrient profile.
Many people enjoy fasting through the morning and starting their daily intake later in the day so that they may have larger meals in a smaller eating window. If that works for you, by all means stick with that. Just know that there isn’t anything magical about intermittent fasting. Ultimately the main factor in whether you lose weight or not is your caloric intake vs your caloric expenditure.
Just some breakfast food for thought!
-Katy Hair, RD, LDN, CNSC
Gwin, J. A., Leidy, H, J. A Review of the Evidence Surrounding the Effects of Breakfast Consumption on Mechanisms of Weight Management. Advances in Nutrition, 2018. 9(6): p. 717-725.