I continue to hear this from many of my GI patients, and so many of my Wellness clients, many of whom are overweight and had problems losing weight. I have always preached that skipping breakfast placed the body under stress, resulting in increases in the stress hormone cortisol, which then had negative effects, including raising blood sugar, raising insulin levels, raising blood pressure, decreasing metabolism, and increasing the storage of fat.
Recently, intermittent fasting has become the latest craze, and in fact, does have some proven benefits. Intermittent fasting can reset the chemical and hormonal balance that allows the brain to properly determine if you are hungry or full. It can jump start weight loss, and in particular, fat loss, and may even speed up reduction in cholesterol levels. These especially occur with regular exercise, and even more so if the exercise is high intensity interval (HIIT) training, and performed in short bursts throughout the day, with intermittent fasting, and/or just prior to eating if not fasting. Unfortunately, I have seen too many people using intermittent fasting for long periods, to lose weight, after which they regain the weight rapidly, and they repeat this yo-yo cycle in short periods of time, one to two weeks, believing that this is healthy.
However a recent very important study demonstrated that breakfast also provided other benefits to metabolism. A large breakfast in fact, required the body to shift in to high gear, in order to digest and process the meal. This had the effect of increasing calorie burn (metabolism), and this “glycemic burn” continued throughout much of the day. Those that then reduced dinner size later in the day (at times the natural byproduct of eating the large breakfast), lost weight and fat weight, more quickly. Exercise added to this effect.
The authors went so far as to suggest that this may contradict the theory of intermittent fasting (hydrating but eating no calories until a determined “window” later in the day of 4-6 hours, during which ALL calories for the day are consumed). I typically council those people who depend upon intermittent fasting for weight loss, to do this for only short periods of time, until the desired effect is obtained (appetite control and initial weight loss), and then to moderate.