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.
You’ll get “hangry”
Cookie Studio/Shutterstock When you’re hungry, you’re also apt to get angry more easily, and so avoiding your morning meal may make you grumpy. This is especially true if you’re skipping breakfast because you’re in a rush, and not because you truly don’t feel like eating. One study from the United Kingdom showed that men who had eaten breakfast had a more positive mood at the start of the test session, and felt calmer afterward, than those who hadn’t eaten breakfast. Weston says the drop in blood sugar caused by skipping a meal causes irritability, along with fatigue and headache that can further worsen your mood. “Serotonin and dopamine, also known as neurotransmitters, are chemicals produced in the brain to regulate feelings and mood,” Weston says. “There is a connection between food intake and the balance of neurotransmitters produced by the brain. Skipping meals puts stress on the body and stress affects dopamine and serotonin levels.” On the flip side, eating regularly supports happy feelings.