One of the most controversial topics in the nutrition world is whether having breakfast is important or not. Most nutritionists believe that skipping breakfast in the morning will make you feel hungry for the rest of the day. This will make you snack a lot so that at the end of the day you will end up eating much more than you normally would have had you taken breakfast. However, other experts think differently. Research shows that no difference in weight is noted between individuals who have breakfast on a regular basis and those who don’t.
Many People Tend to Skip Meals on a Regular Basis
According to research by the American Heart Association, having breakfast on a regular basis is good for your heart, blood pressure, and cholesterol. However, this research isn’t strong enough for researchers to insist that people who don’t eat breakfast should start doing so immediately. Other research has alluded to the fact that not eating for longer periods overnight (having dinner earlier) could, in fact, help you lose weight.
A research that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlighted what happens in the body when someone doesn’t eat breakfast regularly. These people tend to burn up more calories during the day. However, skipping breakfast for a long time could lead to inflammation in your body.
Experts based at the University of Hohenheim in Germany decided to do an experiment on 17 participants to answer the question is breakfast necessary? They had the participants skip breakfast on some days, skip dinner on other days and then have three regular meals. What they observed was that the calorie breakdown of these participants on all three days was similar. During the days when the participants skipped one meal, there were extra calories in the two other meals that they consumed to make up for the meal that they skipped. The researchers collected blood samples from these participants and measured their insulin levels, glucose level, hormones and immune cells activity between 7 AM and 9 PM.
The researchers came to the conclusion that people who skipped either lunch or dinner and extended their overnight fast ended up burning up more calories within a 24 hour period as compared to individuals who had three meals a day.
Other observations that were made were that insulin levels, glucose levels and the physical activity of the participants were the same on all three days. However, in the days when people skipped breakfast, their glucose levels and insulin resistance were quite high after lunch.
In addition, on those days that people skipped breakfast, they ended up burning more fat from their fat reserves. This might sound like a good thing but it’s actually not. It’s an indication that the body’s metabolism could be negatively affected in the long run and the ability to switch from burning fat to carbohydrates will be impaired. In the long term, this could affect glucose homeostasis in the body.
By skipping breakfast, you will increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. This is because the severe inflammation that’s caused to the body as a result of skipping breakfast can increase insulin resistance. This also puts you at the risk of becoming overweight.
According to the Peterson Courtney, assistant professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, in order to answer the question is breakfast necessary, there needs to be more research. She argued that even though inflammation levels in the body might be high after lunch, they might not be high at other times of the day. The researchers had only measured inflammation levels after lunch and not during other times of the day.
Peterson says that skipping meals is not realistic for many people. In any case, it could lead to someone eating more as they constantly snack as a result of being hungry. She also argued that which meal you choose to skip matters a lot too. People who skip dinner end up burning more calories than those who skip breakfast.