Skipping breakfast is pretty common these days. Many people claim they can’t eat in the morning and many more just like to grab a coffee before work. However, scientific evidence shows that skipping breakfast is a bad idea. In particular, it has been shown that skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain and ill health over the long term. But just why is skipping breakfast such a bad idea and why does it cause weight gain?
The Overnight Fast
During the night the brain continues to use glucose as a source of energy. This glucose is derived partly from the food ingested just before bed, but also from the stores of glycogen in the liver. Overnight these stores become consumed and upon waking liver glycogen is usually mostly depleted. Skipping breakfast and leaving the glycogen stored depleted is not a problem in itself, but it does increase the risk of overeating.
Liver Glycogen and Hunger
Eating less by skipping breakfast seems a logical way to cause weight loss, and many people assume they are doing themselves good by using this strategy. However, science shows that those who skip breakfast eat more at other meals, such that by the end of the day they have caught up on the missed energy. And its worse, because not only do they catch up, those that miss breakfast actually eat more food than if they had eaten breakfast.
Low Quality Catchup
So those that skip breakfast actually eat more than those who eat breakfast. The reason for that is that low blood sugar and low glycogen stores are potent stimulators of appetite. The longer that food deprivation occurs, the greater the risk of overeating due to stimulation of the appetite centres in the brain. And when food is eaten, nott only is more consumed, but also the quality of that food diminishes so the risk of eating junk increases.
Eat Like A King
Eating a healthy breakfast therefore is beneficial to body weight as it prevents overeating later in the day and improves the quality of the food eaten. However, a healthy breakfast does not include sugar laden breakfast cereals devoid of fibre and micronutrients. A high quality breakfast containing fruit, whole grain cereals such as oats, as well as tea and milk should be consumed to ensure a slow release of energy throughout the day.