“Conventional wisdom is often neither.”
Ask most people what is the most important meal of the day, and most without hesitation will say breakfast, first thing in the morning.
In addition, many will tell you that not having breakfast first thing in the morning will have several negative effects:
-An increase in your daily calorie intake
-Throw off your metabolism
-An increase in your weight
-Make us prone to overeating.
Hmm, I feel like I’ve seen this movie before. Nonetheless we will explore these claims in the first half of this post to see if there is any validity to them.
In the second part of this post we will address the results of a survey I conducted on Instagram yesterday that asked the question, “how many people are actually hungry in the morning, and should you still eat even though you’re not hungry?”
Alright without further adieu, LET’SGET IT!
First let’s look at the word “Breakfast”. The word breakfast means just that, Break-Fast. This is the process of breaking your fast.
Fasting is the process of going without food for an extended period of time, which is exactly what occurs when we are sleeping. So when you are waking up in the morning, you are still in a fasting state. So from there, whatever time you eat, is considered the time you actually “break” your “fast”.
So technically, if you didn’t have your first meal until 2pm, then that salad would be your breakfast, and that is completely fine. Breakfast does not have some time mandates that you must fit your meal into.
Now, what about the claims made about the importance of breakfast first thing in the morning? Well I will save you the suspense, its all BS, none of it is true.
“Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t lie.”
“Men talk, women talk, but numbers don’t have a voice.”
– C.A.S.H. Williams
The research simply does not support this widely held and treasured belief on the importance of breakfast. In fact, a 2013 systemic review of breakfast eating, found that most of the studies done on the benefits of breakfast, interpreted the available evidence in favor of their own bias. (1)
In other words, people did the work, got the results, but when it came time to interpret the data, they became very selective with the information. So its not so much a “lie” per say, its just not the whole truth, which can actually be more dangerous that a lie. Where I’m from we call this getting played.
The evidence doesn’t support any of these claims. Below you will find the claims along with a link that debunks them.
- A large breakfast will reduce your food intake for that day. FALSE (2) Breakfast eaters actually tend to eat more (3)
- Many eat breakfast because it will supposedly help aid in weight loss, but “contrary to widely espoused views this had no discernable effect on weight loss.” (4)
- Many will also tell you that skipping breakfast will “shut down your metabolism.” This as well has been proven to not be true. (5) “Contrary to popular belief, there was no metabolic adaptation to breakfast.”
Finally, the quick poll I did on my Instagram, showed that the people who engaged in the survey, reported NOT feeling hungry in the morning. In addition, some also reported they still eat breakfast because of the importance of breakfast first thing in the morning.
Well if you are not feeling hungry in the morning, not only is there an actual physiological reason for that, but it is actually the norm.
Most think of breakfast as “fueling up” to take on the day, but your body has already done that for you.
Like most things in nature, we have rhythms and cycles, whether we acknowledge them or not doesn’t denote their existence.
Every morning our circadian rhythm increases certain hormones around 4am, with the intentions to help get us “turnt” for the day ahead. These hormones (growth hormone, cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine aka adrenalin) which activates our sympathetic nervous system, which then stimulates a mild fight or flight response which, which in turn naturally decrease our appetite.
Alright, enough tap dancing.
No! I do not recommend eating breakfast first thing in the morning if you are not hungry. In fact, I don’t recommend eating at anytime if you’re not hungry. However, when you do eat, the same principle always applies, “eat when hungry, stop when full, real whole foods, mostly leafy greens”.
A boogie man effect has been created around this whole “nutrition game”, which in turn has been exploited with one side being the benefactor. Unless you have stock or some kind of financial interest in breakfast products, then there is no real health benefits to this “magical timeframe” of first thing in the morning.
We tend to think it only goes down in the DM or the streets, but the hustle transcends into the labs, the research, wall street ect.
Breakfast first thing in the morning is the most important part of the day for them, not you! We hold on to this breakfast thing, because its pushed heavy and for years it has been ingrained in us. Now it’s just a habit.
If you are not hungry, simply don’t eat, the sky will not come falling down and your waist will not expand. If you want to eat at that time, then of course do it, but don’t do it because of the magical benefits.
However, when you do eat, still follow the simple rule of “eat when hungry, stop when full, real whole foods, mostly leafy greens”, and you Gucci, the rest will work itself out.
Holla at yall later, P.E.A.C.E.!
Edward C.A.S.H. Williams
- Brown AW et al. Belief beyond the evidence: using the proposed effect of breakfast on obesity to show 2 practices that distort scientific evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;98(5):1298–308.
- Schusdziarra V et al. Impact of breakfast ondaily energy intake. Nutr J. 2011 Jan 17; 10:5. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-5. Accessed 2015 Apr 8.
- Reeves S et al. Experimental manipulationof breakfast in normal and overweight/obese participants isassociated with changes to nutrient and energy intakeconsumption patterns. Physiol Behav. 2014 Jun 22;133:130–5. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.05.015. Accessed2015 Apr 8.
- Dhurandhar E et al. The effectiveness of breakfastrecommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlledtrial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jun 4. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.089573. Accessed 2015 Apr 8.
- Betts JA etal. The causal role of breakfast in energy balance andhealth: a randomized controlled trial in lean adults. Am JClin Nutr. 2014 Aug; 100(2): 539–47.