When I ask my clients to fast for at least twelve hours daily and longer than that if they can, most look seriously distressed. And it’s not just the going-without-eating thing.
“What about breakfast?” they ask with worried faces.
I can’t take breakfast away from you. Literally. Breakfast is simply the meal that breaks your fast. If you eat (and I’m definitely not promoting that you give it up), you will inevitably eat breakfast. It just may be around noon.
That’s fine because there is no inherent time written into the word itself. It’s break-fast, not “morning-meal” or “food-upon-awakening.”
You know what else breakfast doesn’t have to be? Cereal.
If you’re Paleo-ish like me, you’ve already gotten away from cereal, which includes not just the brightly colored boxed stuff, but also granola, muesli, cream-of-wheat, grits, and the super-trendy overnight oats (and just plain old oatmeal).
And here’s something very interesting: Did you know that this idea of breakfast being the most important meal of the day comes down to a really good marketing plan put in place by companies such as Kellogg and General Mills?
Not only that, but these packaged-cereal giants have also funded the research that “proves” that people who eat breakfast are healthier and leaner.
The studies are set up to compare people who are already regular breakfast eaters with those who are not. There can be a plethora of reasons why someone doesn’t eat breakfast and many of those might not be based on health. In other words, these studies confuse correlation with causation—a big no-no.
More and more studies and meta-analyses are now coming out showing that skipping breakfast (in the traditional sense of eating a morning meal) either has no effect—or a beneficial one—on adults who are trying to lose weight. (Here’s one.)
Morning meal or no? The simple answer
Fast for at least 12 hours then eat when you’re hungry.
Becoming metabolically flexible (being able to burn both fat and sugar for fuel) is necessary for sustained energy, getting off the sugar roller coaster, slower ratess of aging,, and disease prevention. Fasting is one of the most effective tools to becoming a fat-burner, so don’t skip it.
Does it matter what I eat for breakfast?
Yes! Whenever you do decide to eat, focus on healthy fats, moderate protein, and very low carbs—you can even skip carbs, if you want. This gives you sustained energy to last for hours, kicks cravings to the curb, and even boosts your mood.
At the least, don’t eat dessert for breakfast (see the infographic above)!