For those who are trying to lose weight, there is a lively debate about eating breakfast. The pro breakfast group contends that breakfast helps to jump start metabolism and hence allow for more efficient weight loss. The anti-breakfast group contends that people can lose weight more efficiently by skipping breakfast.
So which side is correct and will help you lose weight?
It is true, initially, that skipping breakfast can reduce calories and initiate quick early weight loss. However, that effect is short lived. Many who support skipping breakfast as a way to lose weight, maintain weight, and somehow reap anti-aging benefits can only produce studies that were inconclusive.
Here are the facts about why you should eat breakfast, especially if you are trying to lose weight. When we sleep, we go through an average of 8 hours per night undergoing mini-fast. That means that there is no food ingested while we are sleeping. Sleep is important because it allows the body to slow its metabolism down, repair damaged cells and muscles, and undergo a fat burning process called ketosis. Ketosis largely occurs in the fasting state when there are depleted sugar and glycogens in the body. Is it any wonder why people who suffer from insomnia or are getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night are more prone to obesity?
While sleep is beneficial and essential, it also puts the body in a state of mini-starvation. Our bodies are designed to take in food at 4 to 5 hour intervals in small portions. When we awake from our sleep, our bodies are starved for nutrients. More importantly, our blood sugar levels can be low, causing the pancreas, an organ that secretes insulin, to become hyperactive.
Insulin overproduction leads to a state called Metabolic Syndrome, which causes the pancreas to become dysfunctional over time. Metabolic Syndrome leads to insulin storing the foods that we eat, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, into additional fats in the form of triglycerides. Additionally, because the body is in a state of fasting and slowed metabolism, muscle mass is broken down for energy and simple sugar craving ensues.
Studies have shown that at this state, Ghrelin, a hormone released by the stomach, induces further hunger response, eventually leading to carbohydrate cravings and premature hunger (Journal of Clinical Nutrition. February 2006. Vol. 83, No. 2, 211-220) Consequently, subjects also consumed higher calories and carbohydrates at the expense of proteins.
When we are trying to lose weight, it is of paramount importance that we maintain muscle mass for increased metabolism. When we skip breakfast, the opposite happens. We lose muscle mass, increased hunger response follows, and consumption of higher calories and carbohydrates at upcoming meals.
The optimal time to consume breakfast is between 5:30am to 8am. Breakfast should consist of high proteins, moderate fats, and controlled carbohydrates. In most countries outside of the United States, breakfast is the largest meal of the day. The saying, “Eat like a king for breakfast. Eat like a lord for lunch. Eat like a peasant for dinner” is true. But that is a topic for another day.
Try this for the next two weeks. Wake up between 5:30 am to 8:00 am and consume your breakfast. Have two eggs (any style), 2 to 3 pieces of bacon or 1 6OZ lean ham, ½ cup of raspberries or blackberries, and 1 whole wheat English muffins with butter (not margarine).
As seen above, breakfast should be high in proteins, low in carbohydrates, and moderate in fats. Avoid fruits that are not berries as they are high in fructose and the standard recommended 5 servings of fruits will hinder anyone’s weight loss.
So breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. While some people may initially see some quick 2 to 3 pound weight loss by skipping breakfast, it will eventually catch up and lead to further weight gain.
Resource: Watch our video to learn how weight loss works.
By: Dr. Brandon Kim CEO | Camelback Health Care