Do I need to eat breakfast?

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD 

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” 

This statement is one of the most common pieces of nutrition advice in our society. But some of you may wonder – is it really necessary to start your day with a meal?  

Eating a healthy breakfast can help prevent overeating later in the day, which in turn may help you with your weight loss goals.  

However, the benefits of breakfast largely depend on what makes up the meal, and what else you eat during the day. 

Benefits of Eating Breakfast 

Eating a nutritious breakfast can have several benefits.  

For one, breakfast can help you feel energized and focused throughout the morning. This is especially true if you include fiber-rich foods, like vegetables or fruit, and a source of protein, such as eggs, Greek yogurt, or nut butter. 

These types of foods are digested more slowly than typical breakfast foods that are high in sugar and refined carbs, such as bagels, donuts, and pastries, which can spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling famished shortly after you eat them. 

What’s more, several studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to become overweight or obese and develop chronic diseases (12). 

This is likely because eating a nutritious breakfast, especially one that includes protein, may help with appetite control and lead to a lower overall caloric intake throughout the day. 

Myths about Eating Breakfast 

While eating breakfast may have some benefits, it’s important to note that studies that show a link between breakfast and a lower risk of weight gain are observational. 

In other words, they do not prove that breakfast directly leads to a healthy weight or that skipping it automatically causes weight gain. 

For example, eating a healthy breakfast but then indulging in large meals and snacks with less nutritious foods will not help with weight loss.  

Instead, decreasing overall caloric intake, regardless of how many meals or snacks you eat per day, and having a healthy lifestyle are probably more influential in losing weight than simply eating breakfast. 

In addition, some people claim that eating breakfast boosts metabolism and causes you to burn more calories during the day, but studies have not proven this to be true (3). 

So, is breakfast necessary?  

As you can see, the health benefits of breakfast depend on what you eat. If you opt for sugary and refined carb foods for breakfast, you likely won’t see any benefits and may even overeat later in the day. 

But if you choose nutritious foods with protein and fiber to start you day, you will likely reap the benefits of feeling more energized and not overeating at later meals.  

So, breakfast can be an extremely important part of losing weight, as long as it’s made up of the right types of foods! 

Note from Healthy For Life Meals: Our breakfast options are rich in protein and fiber, and will help you start your day on the right foot. Get started with one of our plans today!

Stef Keegan