It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it true? There is a common believe that eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps prevent overeating or binge eating throughout the day. For these reasons, people are often told to not skip breakfast and to eat within one hour of waking up as a weight loss recommendation.
The truth is, breakfast is no more special than any other meal of the day. At the end of the day it’s about total calories consumed. Breakfast is simply breaking your fast from a period of non eating, be it in the am or pm. What’s important is to stay within your calorie budget for the day if your goal is weight loss. Everyone is different, so some feel comfortable eating breakfast while others don’t. But it’s not necessary to force yourself to eat breakfast if you are not particularly hungry first thing in the morning.
Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton states, “The “breakfast boosts metabolism” myth is based on the ‘thermic effect of food’. Around 10% of our calorie burn comes from the energy that we use to digest, absorb and assimilate the nutrients in our meals. Roughly speaking, eat a 350-calorie breakfast and you will burn 35 calories in the process. But notice that you’ve eaten 350 extra calories to burn that 35 – a net gain of 315 calories. No matter what time of day you eat at, you’ll burn off around 10% of the calories in your food through the thermic effect of food. So, whether you eat your breakfast at 7am, 10am or never, if you eat roughly the same amount and types of food overall, its effect on your metabolism will be the same.” This shows that the metabolism argument is a very weak one in the grand scheme of weight loss.
One must challenge popular beliefs by putting them to the test to know what really works for them. The problem is, most people don’t do this, so they repeat what they hear or read as gospel. Listen to your body, it tells you everything you need to know.