You may gain weight
allstars/Shutterstock If you’re trying to lose weight, it would seem that the less you eat, the more pounds you’d drop, right? But that’s not exactly the case. Although research is mixed on whether eating breakfast has a direct effect on weight loss, the link between skipping breakfast and weight gain has been shown. “One theory is that people who eat breakfast are more likely to practice lifestyle behaviors associated with an ideal body weight and good health,” says Shannon R. Weston, MPH, a certified diabetes educator at UTHealth School of Nursing in Houston. “Another theory is that people who skip breakfast tend to overeat at subsequent meals, consuming the majority of calories during the most sedentary hours of the day.” Dr. Gastelum says that some of his patients don’t realize they take in more calories in one sitting than in three planned meals. “Patients who frequently skip meals believing that they are eating less or consuming fewer calories are often wrong,” he says. “They tend to have a rubber band effect on their calorie intake—they skip breakfast and then overeat at lunch.” Here are 20 more hidden reasons your diet isn’t working.
Your metabolism may slow down
Shutterstock When you skip meals, your body stops working as fast in order to conserve fuel. “The body will slow its basal metabolic rate to compensate for calorie restriction,” Dr. Gastelum says. Plus, in the morning your metabolism has already been slow during sleep. “Prolonged fasting will further reduce the body’s willingness to burn calories and impact the amount of adipose [fat] tissue that’s lost.” Although the results of a recent study dispute this thinking, the same research also showed more calories burned during morning exercise, as well as more stable blood sugar later in the day, when the participants ate breakfast. So, the morning meal does seem to have an impact on the body’s metabolic processes.
You may get stupid
Flamingo Images/Shutterstock Not eating breakfast can have an effect on brain health as well. Because your noggin runs on glucose, the drop in blood sugar from a long fasting state can affect your cognitive function. “Skipping breakfast is a missed opportunity to provide adequate nutrients to the brain, especially after an overnight fast,” Weston says. Studies have shown that school children do better on tests when they’ve had breakfast. “Because dietary carbohydrate breaks down into glucose, it is important to get the right amount of carbohydrates for breakfast to optimize cognitive focus and memory,” she says. But don’t go reaching for sugary pastries—choose complex carbs like whole grains, plus protein like eggs, and healthy fat like avocado. Check out these 27 healthy breakfast recipes you can try today.