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Is Eating Breakfast Overrated?

Is Eating Breakfast Overrated?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Not so fast. That old adage is facing more and more scrutiny due to increasing research. We have been told incessantly that skipping breakfast leads to fat gain, muscle loss, increased cravings, and moodiness. In fact, for some it could be quite the contrary. If you eat nothing but doughnuts and pasta and bread, yes, fasting cold-turkey would be a very unpleasant experience for you. However, if you are a healthy adult with a balanced, well-maintained diet and exercise regimen, skipping out on breakfast every now and again may actually be beneficial. I am not talking about simply skipping breakfast and eating a snickers at 10. I am talking about intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to be extremely beneficial, promoting leanness, helping with hormone regulation, and even possibly decreasing the risk for cancer and diabetes.There are many varieties, so if you have any interest in fasting you should consult with a professional to see what works best with your habits and lifestyle. Popular protocols range from the 5/2 method (fasting two non-consecutive days of the week), to sporadic fasting once or twice a month, to daily fasting, as detailed in the Leangains 16/8 protocol by Martin Berkhan. In a 16/8 protocol, a person fasts for 16 hours of the day, and feeds for 8 hours. Usually, people schedule the fasting window to start at 8 or 9 at night, continue through sleep, and break the fast at noon or 1pm. Essentially, a person has a much later breakfast (yes, the true origins of the word “breakfast” refer to the first food to break the fast of sleep–so technically your first meal of the day is still breakfast), and fits their normal daily sustenance in a smaller window of time.

In a recent experiment, two groups of mice were fed the same amount and type of a high-fat diet, but one group only had access to this food for 8 hours of their day. Although the two groups ate the same type and amount of calories, those who ate only during that 8-hour window actually lived longer, were leaner, and actually more alert than the free-feeding mice, who became overweight and unhealthy. How can that be possible? This suggests that when you put food into your body is equally if not more important to what food you put into your body. Mind blown.

Speaking of eating, would you eat bugs?

Make fasting a relaxing experience. Here are 4 ways to bring nature into your life…

This review from the University of California, Berkley concluded that alternate day fasting can decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease, decrease the risk for cancer, lower the risk of diabetes, and improve cognitive function while protecting against mental disease. Other potential benefits of intermittent fasting are…

Increased longevity. Fasting induces a state of autophagy in the body, during which cells maintain and repair themselves. They do not eat away at themselves, as is commonly misunderstood. It is this process that is thought to increase longevity. Check out these two UK articles–Express and BBC–about living longer with intermittent fasting.

Easy to follow. Intermittent fasting has been shown to be an easier-to-maintain lifestyle choice for people trying to lose significant weight than traditional dieting. Rather than constantly thinking about what you are going to eat next, it gets food completely off of your mind.

No “brain fog.” We have all heard that not eating every couple of hours can cause “mental fog.” If your body is wholly dependent on a constant intake of carbohydrates, this may be the case. However, while consuming a protein-and-veggie–rich diet, intermittent fasting can actually improve mental clarity, especially while in a fasted state. If our ancestors became foggy after a lack of food, that would be counter-productive for survival and their search for the next meal. Evolutionarily, it makes sense that our mental clarity actual improves in a fasted state, a la survival of the fittest.

Better insulin regulation. Do you get hungry soon after breakfast? This may be due to cortisol (aka your stress hormone) being at its highest around breakfast–about 30 minutes after waking. Cortisol has an effect on insulin that can cause a huge surge and rapid dip in sugar levels, leading to mid-morning, ravenous hunger in some people, regardless of a hearty breakfast. Recent research has also suggested that intermittent fasting can restore hormonal balance and possibly reverse Type II diabetes in some people.

According to this article from the New York Times, the studies between eating breakfast and thinness are misleading and not significant in their methodology. Skipping out on breakfast once in a while with the intent of fasting might actually be beneficial to your health. Give it a try! Of course, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. As with food, intermittent fasting is best done in moderation to reap its outstanding benefits. Always check with your doctor before making any drastic dietary changes.

Did you know some pregnant women crave dirt? Here’s the not-so-dirty truth about dirt…

Here’s another piece about challenging the Supremacy of Breakfast.

Read more: Alzheimer's, Cancer, Cholesterol, Diabetes, Diet & Nutrition, Fitness, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, , , , , , , , ,

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Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at


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11:35AM PDT on Sep 11, 2015

Thank you!

4:11PM PDT on Aug 14, 2015

personally I love my oatmeal smothered with blueberries or cooked with raisins if I can;t get my blueberry fix. I drink my lemon juice and then 1/2 hour later have my breakfast of oatmeal. and a cup of coffee. I feel healthy and I think that's what counts. How you feel.

5:15AM PDT on Aug 11, 2015

Start our days properly

4:09AM PDT on Aug 11, 2015


7:06PM PDT on Aug 10, 2015

against animal research. Makes me very angry:/

5:47PM PDT on Aug 10, 2015

thanks for the info!

2:43PM PDT on Aug 10, 2015

I've never been a breakfast person. I wake up at 6am and I don't usually ear until about 11 or 12...

9:19AM PDT on Aug 10, 2015

Me miss breakfast= throwing up. Doctors and lab personnel can scream at me all they want-I tell them that instead of trying to get to a toilet ot waste basket, I'll throw up on them-----That calms them down.

7:36AM PDT on Aug 10, 2015

Breakfast and Learning
Breakfast has been linked, extensively, to better performance by children in the classroom, according at least to two studies performed by Tufts University psychologists on school children. Eating breakfast also helps control appetite, keeping kids focused on learning throughout the day. It’s believed children’s smaller stature causes them to be more susceptible to the effects of overnight fasting -- including decreases in mental acuity -- and they may even be in greater need of breakfast than adults.

7:12AM PDT on Aug 10, 2015

Just so there is no misunderstanding, let me state again that I was speaking about MY own experience; and about the power of convictions in some people.

My main point is, as always: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
(Which also implies discarding old beliefs, if necessary.)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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