Is Breakfast Better Than Nothing, Or Is Nothing Better Than Breakfast?

What does breakfast typically look like for you? Is it a delicious dream of beautifully crafted overnight oats? Is it a snack bar? Is it frothy gas station coffee? Is it…nothing? 

Maybe you enjoy the simplicity of taking on the day fueled by stomach acid! I’m increasingly in that camp. And I’ve been wondering how starting the day off this way might be helping or hindering me.

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day, or is that just a marketing ploy? Let’s look at both sides of the argument.

Nothing Is Better Than Breakfast

There’s this buzzy term that you may have heard about from health & wellness blogs and peak performance people called intermittent fasting. If you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually partaking in intermittent fasting, as just 14-18 hours without food qualifies as intermittent.

According to Dr. Mercola, intermittent fasting (not to be toyed around with if you’re pregnant, diabetic, or hypoglycemic), is thought to help in the production of human growth hormone (HGH), a fat-burning hormone. Intermittent fasting also “increases catecholamines, which increases resting energy expenditure, while decreasing insulin levels, which allows stored fat to be burned for fuel.” Sounds great.

So if you choose skip breakfast, whether every day or just occasionally, keep track of how you feel. If you find yourself lightheaded or irritable, eat something. And be mindful of counteracting the potential benefits of morning fasting by filling up on empty calories later.

Breakfast Is Better Than Nothing

To that last point, there’s this theory that breakfast not only benefits cognitive function in the morning, but that it helps ensure you won’t eat crappily for the rest of the day.

As far as improving cognitive function in adults, the jury is still out on whether breakfast makes a difference (there’s some evidence that it benefits kids).

But there is evidence supporting the idea that breakfast nutritionally helps us start the day off right; that it tends to be our “healthiest” meal of the day, and that without it, less healthy eating habits kick in. That infographic from Massive Health linked above suggests that if we skip breakfast, not only do we eat more, but our cravings might get the better of us, and we might jump at quick fixes like simple carbohydrates (bagels, pasta and the like) when we do eat again.

It’s thought that if we start the day with a fiber-rich breakfast such as oatmeal, we’ll see a more stable level of blood sugar in our bodies over the course of the morning, which might help prevent those cravings, and prevent us eating too much at lunch.

And breakfast doesn’t have to mean eggs, cereal, or even good old oatmeal. Have a salad! Have leftovers! That might motivate you to be more interested in breakfast, if it’s a meal you want to prioritize. Take note of your eating habits with and without breakfast in the picture and see what makes sense for you.

Split the Difference

If I allow myself 15 extra minutes in the morning for breakfast, I like to do one of the following:

yogurt (try goat, sheep or grass-fed cow) with chia seeds and maple syrup or honey

OR (if I’m just not hungry)

half a lemon in hot water 

OR (if I’m feeling indulgent)

a smoothie with spinach, avocado, pistachios, acai, vegan protein, and coconut milk 

Where do you stand on breakfast? Let me know in the comments!

GIF via Giphy

4 thoughts on “Is Breakfast Better Than Nothing, Or Is Nothing Better Than Breakfast?

  1. Very nice article, I like the way that you won’t settle for either breakfast or no breakfast and you see it from both perspectives, I think that is the healthiest mindset to have in regards to this topic. I am a firm believer that nothing is better than the other and it is completely up to personal preference to eat breakfast or not. I do intermittent fasting almost every single day and I love it because it gives me the ability to eat larger meals at night while staying in my caloric ranges. I always talk positively about IF and encourage others to give it a try, but I also now that it isn’t for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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