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Is Eating Breakfast Important for Losing Weight?

After I posted a update on my facebook fan page about being so full that I had to skip breakfast, I got quite a debate going on there. Got people saying:

“I thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day”

“Breakfast helps you lose weight”

“You should never skip breakfast because it slows down your metabolism”

And we got people on the other side saying:

“Drinking water in the morning can rev up your metabolism too”

“Working out before eating can help you burn more fat:

“Listen to you body, if it needs food, it will ask for it”

Thanks to everyone that gave their opinion as I have been seriously researching all week and this morning to bring you the latest studies and expert advice on the matter.

So, does eating breakfast help you lose weight?

THE ANSWER: 

NO. 

Okay, let the debating begin! After reading a million journals, articles, and posts, what I conclude is that overall calorie intake is what matters. So you will argue, but eating breakfast helps kick start your metabolism! What does that mean anyway, does that mean you’ll burn more calories?

1. What is metabolism?

The amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself.

Essentially, then yes, eating breakfast will burn jump start your caloric burn or “metabolism” because it takes energy to eat – about 10% to be exact if you include digestion, absorption, metabolizing, and elimination. So let’s say I had a 200 calorie breakfast, in the end, I burned 20 and kept 180.

2. But eating breakfast reduces the amount of calories I eat for the rest of the day!

Ehhhh, maybe, but only as long as you promise to keep the rest of your meals within your caloric limit.

According to this study in The Nutrition Journal, “Increasing breakfast energy was associated with greater overall intake in normal weight and obese subjects.”

Sure I can stuff myself at 7am when I am not hungry and burn an “extra” 20 calories but by 9am I will be hungry again because that is when my body wants food naturally. Your body is used to eating at certain times of the day, so in this scenario, eating an extra little morning meal will not help me lose weight. I’m still eating at 9.

By the way, nobody really skips breakfast. You just delay it a little. This is NOT unhealthy. I eat breakfast when I am hungry and I stop when I am full. I am very in tune with my body and what it needs. Doing yoga and Pilates really helps you listen to your body.

3. If I don’t eat breakfast, my body will go into starvation mode and I will store fat!

This is simply not true. In fact, according to licensed dietician Monica Reinagel “…your body doesn’t go into starvation mode if you go four hours without food. In fact, it takes about three days of fasting or serious caloric restriction for your body to respond with any sort of metabolic adjustment.”

4. Then why do bodybuilders swear by eating small frequent meals?

I’m still researching this myself, but all I can tell you is that bodybuilders tend to workout early in the morning and need the energy to go through their vigorous workouts. They say it keeps their metabolism burning red hot, and that is true because as long as you keep eating you keep burning 10% of what you eat, but please remember that your overall daily caloric intake needs to stay within your maintenance or weight loss range! Don’t eat more to burn more! Think about the bottom line.

Cassey’s take on breakfast?

Honestly, there is so much out there that you can read about on both sides of the debate. What I am going to advise is this: listen to your body.

Try working out without breakfast, try breakfast then working out, try big meals, smaller meals – whatever you do, keep it within your healthy caloric intake count. In the end, if you consume less than you burn then you will lose weight.

Use your body as an a little lab to test things out. I always like to try a new diet for about 6 weeks, monitor the changes if any, and see if I want to move forward with it. But if working out without eating makes your feel like you want to faint, then definitely eat something next time.

See? Easy. Just listen and do what feels right.

Have opinions? Studies? Contradictions? Comment below and teach me something I may not know!

<3 Cassey

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