Dieting? Don’t skip breakfast!

Recently my wife received an advice from a friend on Facebook that she will start a dieting regime she learned from some “experts”. The first thing to do in the morning is to drink two full cups of water and skip breakfast altogether. The belief is that by filling your stomach with fluid instead of food, our body will start burning fat and calorie thus better chance of losing weight.

While I’m not a nutritional expert I can tell you that common sense says this is all wrong. There are multiple articles published on this subject showing the pros and cons. One article that debunked this idea was from Time that states it may not help with dieting but could potential cause more harm.

Everything we read on the internet should be read with caution. Not everyone of them can be cited or supported with studies, including what I am writing now. What I intend to do today is to give a few common sense arguments and hope you can make proper decision if skipping breakfast helps with dieting.

One of the most important things I learned while taking biology course in college is that human body is a well oiled machine. It learns to adapt to its environment and adjust its metabolism accordingly. Prior to the turn of the century before the invention of electricity, the world was dark and the citizens of those era had different meal cycle. Because of lack of lights, eating dinner at 6 or 7 PM was rarely practiced and eating breakfast was not something that is being done consistently. Fast forward to today, a lot of our habits were shaped by commercials we seen on the TV. “As part of the healthy breakfast” selling point could be heard on TV even today. The point I am trying to make is we can skip breakfast and be healthy but at present times our body has already adapted to current habit and changing it could take time and may not work for everyone.

Breakfast is a word coined in the 15th century which refers to first meal after rising from a night’s sleep. Essentially it means that we were fasting after yesterday meal and we break the fasting cycle by eating the first meal when we wake up. During the sleep cycle (between 8 to 10 hours depends on your age), our body went through a rest with minimal activity. The first meal is supposed to fill our body with enough nutrients that will help our body getting the energy to start the day.

Skipping breakfast means we exhaust our body the necessary energy. Our body is smart enough that it stores what we ate before in other cells in our body as energy cells (as fat cells). However, it takes time for our body to convert those energy into usable source of power. By not feeding our body with the essential fuel we could cause harm. Let’s take a car as an example. Could your car start if you pour water in the fuel tank in a cold winter morning?

Once our body is awake it would constantly need to have enough fuel to continue its activities. The same fuel is needed for the brain cells to function properly. Without the necessary nutrients, our brain becomes lethargic and becomes sleepy. If you are attending school you will have difficult time in concentrating. If you are driving to work it could have a disastrous consequences when your brain starts to feel drowsy.

Skipping breakfast does not necessary help with losing weight. I noted earlier that our body can adapt to the environment. That includes how much we eat. If we starve our body in the morning, it will automatically adjust itself to ingest the necessary nutrients to supplement the energy it lost. One of the ways for our body to do that is our brain will instruct our appetite to increase. Instead of feeling satisfied during lunch or dinner, one may feel the need to eat things that are sweet (sugar is the main source of energy).

One of the best ways to successfully diet is to light breakfast or eat small portion. Instead of skipping breakfast, I recommend that you eat something that has protein (an egg) is starchy (such as oatmeal) and sweet (such as a banana). These are the several ingredients that our body can metabolize easily and be turned into energy that is essential for our body to function.

Breakfast is sometimes considered the most important meal of the day. It can either make or “break” what lies ahead. If you want to diet successful, skipping breakfast is the last thing that you want to do.

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