Is Skipping Breakfast Good for Your Health?


Craig Primack MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA, Dipl. ABOM

Many people have tried some form of intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding. You choose to eat only inside of a time-restricted window of 6-10 hours per day. It’s usually 9 am-7 pm for 10 hours or 12 pm-6 pm for 6 hours. If that’s the case, is skipping breakfast good for your health?

Studies on Skipping Breakfast

A recent study showed that skipping breakfast, defined as eating your first meal after 9:30 am makes us “metabolically” unhealthy. Eating a proper breakfast before 9:30 am improves your metabolism, helps weight loss, and delays complications associated with type 2 diabetes and other disorders.

Eating breakfast triggers the “cyclic clock” gene expression that improves blood sugar control. This gene not only regulates the blood sugar metabolism, but also body weight and blood pressure.

In a small study, 18 people with normal weight and 18 people with obesity and diabetes had 2 test days. In one, they ate breakfast and lunch. On the other, they only ate lunch. On both days they took blood tests to measure these “cyclic clock” genes after a meal.

On days with breakfast, the meal triggered the “cyclic clock” gene which leads to improved blood sugar control. On days with no breakfast, the “cyclic clock” gene turned off leading to blood sugar spikes and poor insulin response for the rest of the day. This suggests that skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain even without overeating the rest of the day.

Eating Breakfast According to a Weight Loss Expert

We shouldn’t completely change anything we do base on a study of only 36 people. But after practicing obesity medicine for more than 14 years, I can tell you that most people I treat do not eat breakfast before becoming a patient. After starting out medical weight loss program, they start eating breakfast and also start to lose weight.

That being said, it takes more than eating breakfast to lose weight. Maybe mom was right when she said that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” She just didn’t have the study to back it up.

Source APA citation: Skipping breakfast disrupts “clock genes” that regulate body weight (11-30-2017)

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