How Breakfast Isn’t The Most Important Meal of The Day

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

According to every other health article you’ve read in the past 10 years, breakfast is supposedly the more important meal of the day. If you aren’t waking up to a healthy spread then you are basically going to die, per other sources.

This is usually based on the loose idea that more meals create a faster metabolism and as busy people, we tend to skip meals except for lunch and dinner. The solution was to convince people that they HAD to have breakfast to be healthy.

Surprisingly, this really isn’t the case. There actually isn’t really a reason to force feed yourself breakfast, however, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with having breakfast either! In this article I am going to go over some reasons as to why you don’t have to have breakfast, but also ways to have a better breakfast if you decide to go that route.

Why You Can Go Without

First scenario:

Let’s say you wake up at 6 A.M. to start getting ready for work. You get up, shower, clean yourself, and what’s next before leaving? “Oh sh*t I need to eat breakfast!” At this point you probably realize that you aren’t even hungry, so you just grab something to take with you. That something is one of those unhealthy “cereal” bars full of sugar. Or you stop at the Starbucks and grab a sugary pastry on your way in. Are you really doing the whole breakfast thing any justice here? Really all you’re doing is spiking your insulin, just to have a sugar crash about 30 minutes into being at work.

Second Scenario:

You get up bright and early because it’s a new year, new you. One of your resolutions is to start eating breakfast more because Doctor Oz said it will make you immortal. You actually hate breakfast food, because you’re never hungry that early in the morning and you basically force feed yourself trying not to barf. However, you get up anyways and scarf down this massive breakfast of eggs, bacon, orange juice, a bagel, and a small bowl of cereal. That’s a lot of food, and you actually end up feeling stuffed and more tired than you were when you woke up.

So, in both of these situations, breakfast did not make either person feel better or healthier. It actually gave them the opposite effect. Now this is due to the fact that most “breakfast” foods are centered around being very high in carbs and sugar. This was really just a marketing scheme that has plagued us over the years to increase the belief that you had to consume certain foods for breakfast.

The Fix

In reality if both of these people had skipped breakfast altogether and just waited till they were actually hungry (usually around lunch), they would’ve been perfectly fine. Their energy levels would’ve stayed normal and maybe even been higher than normal. They could’ve coasted through their morning not tired or bloated and been comfortable when lunch time came.

What they could’ve done instead of eating breakfast is create a more efficient morning centered around replacing what’s missing (which isn’t always food). Some things that need to be addressed upon waking are dehydration, circadian rhythm, and breathing.

While you sleep, you may sometimes sweat if the room is too hot and you also expel a lot of moisture from breathing. You also haven’t had food or water for close to 6–8 hours, so none of what you’re losing is getting put back in. Water is obviously more important than food, so it can wait. Anyways, this puts you in a water deficit and you need to focus on fixing it. So, upon waking, go to the kitchen and drink a 8–10 oz glass of water, lemon juice, and himalayan salt. The salt and lemon juice help to add some electrolytes to the water and get your innards moving. Try this before you even have coffee and you’ll feel great before you even need the caffeine kick!

As far as circadian rhythm, we need light exposure to wake up naturally. We need to sleep in darkness, and somehow get some light to switch our body out of that sleep state. So, instead of toast go outside in the morning and move around in the sun. You will almost feel your body realizing that it’s time to wake up and get moving.

While sleeping we do a low and slow breathing pattern. This doesn’t really pull in a lot of oxygen because we don’t necessarily need it at that resting state. However, once awake we need to get the blood and brain oxygenated. This can be done by taking the time to focus on some really deep breathes, some fast, some slow. Pair these breathing methods with a cold shower and you won’t even need coffee to wake up.

You’re not going to starve

Most people think that not having breakfast is going to slow down your metabolism. Well, it can if you don’t eat for a VERY long time. Long term fasting can lead to a slowing of metabolism, but 12 or so hours won’t harm you. If anything it will help rid your body of the waste that’s still left over from yesterday! This gives your body a little break before putting it back to work on digestion.

If you’re someone who is actively trying to not eat breakfast, but you’re starving, then you have two options. You could just eat something, or you could have something like a healthier coffee that will stave off your hunger for a while. I talk about some coffee ideas in my recent article How To Create Super Nutritional Coffee that could be helpful here.

But I like My Breakfast

You may be someone who can’t live without breakfast. Let’s be honest there are some great options for breakfast that are hard to pass up. It may even just be part of your routine and helps you get your day started. Well, if that’s the case, then I’m going to give you some ways to optimize it.

Think Healthy

So when you think of something healthy, usually what comes to mind is some sort of fruit or veggie. Well, that’s because they are healthy. If you’re going to be consuming breakfast just make sure it isn’t junk. Create a healthy spread with some fruit and veggies incorporated. This can usually be accomplished quick and easy with a protein smoothie. Just keep the ratio of veggie to fruit around 3:1 so you don’t get to big of an insulin spike.

Just Watch the Carbs

Pretty much the main reason the scenarios at the beginning were so negative, was because they dumped a bunch of sugar into their body. It is a well known fact that sugar spikes insulin, which can make you crash. People have always put the blame for Thanksgiving naps on turkey because of the tryptophan, but it is usually due to a massive spike in insulin (fun fact!). So to create a better breakfast, just watch the carbs and keep it high fat/high protein. A good example would be just some classic bacon and eggs. You’ll be full until lunch without cravings due to the fact that fats and proteins increase satiety!

The high fat content first thing in the morning is also good for your brain. If you normally consume some sugar laden cereal, you may have noticed a phenomenon called “brain fog”. You literally feel like there is fog around your brain. However, with a high fat/high protein breakfast in your belly, you’ll be focused and actually be able to think straight.

That’s All I Wrote

There you have it. A reason that you CAN skip breakfast in the mornings without dying! It’s easy to believe everything you read (hopefully you believe me), just do some of your own research. There are plenty of reliable sources that provide good information. Just do what works for you, whether that be eating (hopefully better now) breakfast, or skipping it and waiting until lunch. Either option may suit you, just make sure to do it the right way!

Lost when it comes to nutrition and health? Let me help you out! I offer 1-on-1 nutrition coaching, that is completely customized for you. Want more information? Click here.

Nutrition Coach. Life Coach. Writer. Podcast Host. Communicator.

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