Not Hungry in the Morning? Permission to Skip Breakfast

Not hungry for breakfast? Don't sweat it. Turns out the link between skipping breakfast and weight gain has been wildly exaggerated,

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
2-minute read

I know you've heard it a million times: People who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight. This cherished and oft-repeated piece of nutrition lore is based on data from the National Weight Control Registry, a project which tracks thousands of people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off.  The idea is to learn what works from successful "losers."  Sure enough, about 8 in 10 of them report eating breakfast. And voila: a myth was born.  "Eating breakfast is essential for weight control." 

See also: Does Eating Breakfast Help with Weight Loss?

 Our belief in the protective effect of breakfast far exceeds the actual evidence. 


But this is not the only data out there. In fact, there have been dozens of studies--including randomized, controlled trials--showing that eating breakfast has little to no impact on weight gain or loss and that that people who eat breakfast often end up eating more calories than those who don't. As a report recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes, our belief in the protective effect of breakfast far exceeds the actual evidence. 

If eating breakfast works for you, keep right on doing it--but be sure you're making healthy choices. (See: What's wrong with this breakfast?). 

breakfastIf, on the other hand, you're forcing yourself to eat simply because "it's not healthy to skip breakfast," there may be room for some flexibility.  Here's some advice for how to skip breakfast in a way that's healthy.  

Finally a reminder that breakfast skipping is for grown-ups only.  The link between breakfast and weight control in adults may be sketchy, but the link between breakfast and school performance in kids is rock solid.

See also: How Nutrition Affects Your Brain


Breakfast image from Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.