Breakfast - Skip or dont skip?
General Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Dr Poonam Vichare, INFS Faculty
Dr Poonam Vichare
‘Breakfast like a king, and dine like a pauper’ – is a famous saying, and many health experts vouch for that. However, strategies such as intermittent fasting often involve skipping breakfast.
It is no secret that our dinners are more lavish compared to any other meals. In most countries, people eat 30-40% of their total calories at dinner (Almoosawi et al. 2016). In a meta-analysis, behaviour to consume higher calories in the evening was reported to be associated with higher BMI.
Skipping breakfast does not seem to be good general advice. Breakfast eaters tend to be more active throughout the day, and they also seem to have better satiety compared to those who skip breakfast. In Mediterranean countries, breakfast has been recognized as one the most important meals of the day. Regular consumption of breakfast is associated with a range of benefits in children and adolescents including more adequate intakes of macro and micronutrients, lower body mass index (BMI), higher cognitive performance and better levels of well-being and quality of life.
But it is not just about whether to have breakfast but also about what is had in the breakfast that makes a difference. Most nutritional recommendations suggest that an ideal breakfast meal should contain 20 to 35% of daily energy derived from three food groups, including milk and milk derivatives, cereals (unrefined and whole grain) and fresh fruit or juice without added sugar.
Our body has an internal clock that responds to photic (light) stimuli. It orchestrates many physiologic responses in a 24-hour rhythm (circadian rhythm ). As humans are diurnal (active during the day) animals, the human body clock is ‘physiologically set’ to promote processes such as physical activity, nutrient digestion and absorption in the active phase (day).
Many genes maintain this circadian behaviour. The harmony and disharmony in such action is a plausible explanation behind associated benefits and drawbacks, respectively. When calories were matched, breakfast exhibited favourable postprandial (after meal) response, characterised by better glycaemic/lipid profile and the thermic effect of food, compared to
The simple answer is – to create a deficit. Having denser breakfast (compared to dinner) is beneficial in general, but when a person is trying to lose weight, at the individual level, he should opt for what suits him to maintain a decent deficit and optimal activity levels.
In general, it is well established in the literature that skipping breakfast or eating very dense dinners is not optimal advice.
However, at the individual level, a person trying to lose weight should opt for what is suitable and sustainable. After all, energy deficit resulting in weight loss outcome yields clinical benefits. The quality of breakfast, rather than just whether breakfast is eaten or skipped, is crucial for achieving good health related quality of life and low levels of stress and depression in adolescents.
- Almoosawi S, Vingeliene S, Karagounis LG et al. (2016) Chrono- nutrition: a review of current evidence from observational studies on global trends in time-of-day of energy intake and its association with obesity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 75: 487–500.
- Bo S, Fadda M, Castiglione A et al. (2015) Is the timing of caloric intake associated with variation in diet-induced thermogenesis and in the metabolic pattern? A randomised cross-over study. International Journal of Obesity 39: 1689–95.
- Fong M, Caterson ID & Madigan CD (2017) Are large dinners associated with excess weight, and does eating a smaller dinner achieve greater weight loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition 118: 616–28.
- Jakubowicz D, Barnea M, Wainstein J et al. (2013) High caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women. Obesity 21: 2504–12.
- Morris CJ, Garcia JI, Myers S et al. (2015) The human circadian system has a dominating role in causing the morning/evening dif- ference in diet-induced thermogenesis. Obesity 23: 2053–8.
- Takahashi JS (2017) Transcriptional architecture of the mammalian circadian clock. Nature Reviews Genetics 18: 164–79.
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