The natural health companies I come from may be the biggest offenders when it comes to weight loss myths. When writing professionally, we want you to believe that our diet pills will melt the fat away. Of course, if you talk to our customer service agents, we will specify that these work best with diet and exercise. We want to make sales over and over again. When it comes to weight loss myths though, they aren’t limited to the natural realm. Plenty of medical professionals can fall into the same traps.
To be fair, most of us don’t go to a doctor or other professional who will tell you what to eat, how to exercise, etc. We buy special pills, videos we can use in our rooms, and we follow trendy diets that the celebs are all following. On the internet at least, you don’t have to be licensed to give out this type of advice. Disclaimer: I am NOT a trained nutritionist, personal trainer, or doctor. I am simply a blogger who has done way too much research for my own good on this basic but wide subject base.
If you go see your doctor, he may still argue with me, and considering my source is the author of the 8 hour diet, this is a tenative stab in the dark (in terms of its factual usefulness. We’ve all been conditioned to think for years that you have to have breakfast. If you eat more protein at breakfast, you stay fuller throughout the day, you get your body and metabolism moving, and you just get your day off right. Personally, I don’t skip breakfast, because when I have to fast in the morning, I end up sick all day. That’s just me.
According to the author of the 8 Hour Diet though, skipping breakfast may be your key to success. It falls somewhat in line with the idea that fasting for a day once a month or so is healthy, and he claims that it will reduce excess weight, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and premature death to name a few.
Using a process called “hormesis”, diet “experts” are now telling us that skipping breakfast challenges your body like you would with a 16 hour fast. You then burn more fat, sharpen your mind, tune up the heart, and turn on HGH jets. Can I see the logic behind some of this? Sure.
If you take a break from time to time from junk food and fatty foods by fasting, you’re going to give your body a bit of a break and get it back on track, even if it’s just a little. Think about cleanses though. Cleanses involve not eating, often drinking instead, and people lose a ton of weight. The problem is that when they try to go back to eating solid food or even “normal food”, guess what, that weight doesn’t stay off.
There are quite a few studies that have already come out confirming that breakfast is healthy for us. These studies have confirmed that breakfast can help you to eat less throughout the day if it’s the right breakfast, get you going, etc. However, there are some newer studies that may have their place. I am skeptical.
Take for example a study published in the Nutrition Journal in 2011. Researchers followed the eating habits of 100 healthy and 280 obese patients for 2 weeks. In both groups, the more calories they ate at breakfast, the more calories they ate. On the other hand, when they ate smaller or no breakfast, their total calorie intake was less.
This is where my skepticism comes in. They didn’t take into account the types of breakfast they were eating. For example, if someone were to eat more protein at breakfast, studies have proven in the past that you eat less throughout the day. Second, if you eat 300-500 calories at breakfast and then you suddenly start skipping, you’re going to automatically cut out 300-500 calories. The question is (and they didn’t track) how many calories are these same people burning throughout the day? Likewise, based on the workups of this study that I’ve seen, they didn’t actually weigh these people or put controls on the groups (i.e. asking some to eat breakfast and others to not eat breakfast). If you starve yourself, you’ll obviously cut your calories, but the actual results and the actual weight loss numbers don’t exactly make it an amazing thing we should all do.
There are other studies, such as one published in the Journal of Physiology in 2010. When fed a high fat diet, a group of active men were told to either not exercise, exercise after breakfast, or exercise before breakfast. The no exercise group gained 6 pounds, developed insulin resistance, and stored more fat. The group who ate first and exercised after gained 6 pounds and showed signs of more insulin resistance and fat storage. Finally, the group who exercised before breakfast didn’t show any signs of insulin resistance.
Obviously, this wouldn’t hold up forever. You should stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan, period. In this case though, it doesn’t necessarily disprove the benefits of breakfast or prove it to be threatening. What it does is support what thousands of personal trainers have been telling their clients for years, exercise first and eat after. Your body continues to burn calories after you stop exercising, and eating a meal immediately after is perfectly fine, even healthy.
So who should skip breakfast? If you want to try it out and see how you feel, great. You may be hungry in the morning at first, but if you start feeling better, then stick with it. If you are hypoglycemic, diabetic, or have certain other medical conditions, I’m sorry to say that this really isn’t an option for you. Be assured, there are plenty of companies making more money off you regardless. Even if you don’t eat “breakfast”, “breakfast foods” are served and ordered throughout the day and even throughout the middle of the night. If you choose to follow the advice of one book author, you won’t really be hurting their bottom line.