Look, I LOVE breakfast.
It is by far my favorite meal of the day. It also happens to be the culprit behind 46.34% of my meals which consist of: Buttermilk pancakes drenched in cinnamon maple syrup, over easy omega-3 enriched eggs, crispy peameal bacon and spicy breakfast potatoes.
As for the timing of the meal, I think it is pointless. I mean sure, if I walk into a buffet at 8am filled with copious amounts of pastry’s, piles of bacon and a never ending stream of brown focus liquid (coffee), I might just indulge.
That being said, 98% of the time I recommend skipping breakfast.
I can already hear the comments…
“Skip breakfast? Are you crazy?”
“ Your metabolism will crash”
“Your body will use all of it muscle for fuel”
“You’ll go into starvation mode”…
Look, most of these statements are simply NOT TRUE. In fact, science has proven them false.
Your body requires a certain amount of energy to maintain its weight each day. The amount depends on activity level for the day, age, genetics and muscle mass to name a few. This energy is measured in calories; maybe you’ve heard of those things.
To lose weight you must consume less calories then you expend on a daily basis. To gain weight you must consume more than you burn. To maintain your weight your daily caloric intake must match your daily energy expenditure.
And that’s it. Really. Sure some tactics make it easier, but as long as you are eating less calories than you burn; you will lose weight. If you add some solid strength training during this phase, you will lose primarily fat.
Yes it doesn’t matter if you eat 1 meal a day, 5 or 12. It doesn’t matter if you breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, linner or at 2am. All that matters is your calories consumed and your total daily energy expenditure.
Don’t You Need To Jumpstart Your Metabolism?
I’m not sure where this myth came from. Regardless it really needs to die.
When you wake up your metabolism isn’t slow. It’s not like over night, your body suddenly decided “hey, were gonna slow your metabolism to a snails crawl so that you stop burning calories.” Is it slower then say after working out, maybe. However maybe a few percentage points at most. (1) (2)
Furthermore when you wake up and skip breakfast your body dumps catecholamines (adrenaline) into the blood stream to preserve muscle and mobilize fat for fuel. Once you break the fast (breakfast), that process stops.
So yes, your body automatically jumpstarts its own metabolism. No Eggo waffles needed.
What About Starvation Mode?
Starvation mode, is essentially the myth that your body sill start to burn its muscle for fuel when you don’t eat every 3 hours or God forbid, first thing in the morning.
This is simply not a reality. Sure starvation mode exists. However it is only after 72 hours of food abstinence that starvation mode occurs. Yes, 3 whole days are needed without food before your body decides to eat its own biceps for food. (3)
Until that time, of the most part, your body will rely upon your body fat to burn for fuel. Yes, skipping breakfast puts your fat burning power into overdrive. Speaking of the super powers of breakfast absence….
The 4 Superpowers Of Skipping Breakfast
Yes there are some awesome super powers that come with the elimination of breakfast. The 4th super power is my favourite.
Superpower #1 – Laser Focus
When you skip breakfast, your body dumps catecholamines (adrenaline) into your blood stream. (1) This allows for clean, laser focused energy. No post meal brain fog. Just pure awesomeness. Try it out an let me know.
Super power #2 – God-like productivity
Remember when you played sports or music or anything else and you were totally in the moment? Laser focused and letting time fly while you knock out hour after hour of practice and playing.
Now, imagine having that on command, every single morning. Skip breakfast and you’ll be able to enter God-like productivity mode on-demand.
Super power #3 – Increased lipolysis (fat burning)
When you skip breakfast, you are withholding energy from your body. Now to survive, your body needs to get it from somewhere. Now assuming you haven’t been on a 3 day fast; you will pull from fat stores. (3) Yes your body will preferably burn your love handles, waist and hip fat before your glorious muscle. Talk about effortless 6 pack abs.
Super power #4 – Total Diet Freedom
This has been my favourite super power. Before skipping breakfast I was a slave to my body. I would wake up, usually late, then go to the kitchen and stumble around for some food. Sometimes anything will do. Out of milk? Well juice and cereal it is (not the best tasting concoction).
The problem is I would waste so much time to eat and then still be hungry 2-3 hours later. So I said fuck it and stopped eating breakfast. Now I’m never late. I get to eat massive lunches and dinners ( I have to fit the same amount of calories into 2 meals, instead of 3) and ironically I’m actually never hungry in the mornings anymore.
By pushing your first meal later into the day you force your body to burn fat for fuel, you elevate growth hormone and you increase insulin sensitivity in the muscles.
As long as you limit the daily fast to 16-20 hours there will be minimal to no muscle catabolism during the fast.
If you wish to perform fasted strength training before your first meal then I strongly recommend taking 10 grams of BCAA before training or even better this supplement by legion athletics.
Skipping breakfast = Freedom and Awesomeness
1. Green MW, Elliman NA, Rogers, PJ. Lack of effect of short-term fasting on cognitive function. Journal of Psychiatric Research 1995; 29(3), 245-253.
2. Leiberman HR, Caruso CM, Niro PJ, Adam GE, Kellogg MD, Nindl B, Kramer FM. A double- blind, placebo-controlled test of 2 d of calorie deprivation: effects on cognition, activity, sleep, and interstitial glucose concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008;88:667–76.
3. Gjedsted J, Gormsen L, Buhl M, Norrelund H, Schmitz, Keiding S, Tonnesen E, Moller N. Forearm and leg amino acids metabolism in the basal state and during combined insulin and amino acid stimulation after a 3- day fast. Acta Physiologica. 2009; (6): 1-9.