Consider this: Breakfast literally means to “break the fast” from the hours you spent sleeping, yet millions of people skip it. According to a study that surveyed 10,000 people, more than 53% of Americans skip breakfast at least once a week, and 12% never have breakfast – despite the fact that we’re repeatedly told it’s the most important meal of the day. Why is that? What’s up, people? When asked, almost all respondents said they are simply “not hungry in the morning,” or “don’t have time to eat.”
Sound familiar? Well, it’s time to change your tune.
Here are 5 reasons you should never skip breakfast.
#1 You’ll risk getting hangry.
Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t feel especially hungry in the morning, your body’s still relying on you to feed it in order to balance your blood sugar levels. Research published in the Journal of Frontiers of Human Neuroscience shows that eating breakfast helps restore glycogen and stabilizes levels of insulin. If you skip this glucose replenishment routine, it can leave you feeling hangry (the struggle is real!) and fatigued. Bad for you – and bad for anyone around you.
#2 You’ll mess with your metabolism.
The evidence is mixed when it comes to skipping breakfast and weight-loss. Some studies show breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, promoting weight loss. Others have found it doesn't make much difference whether you skip it or not. And others find skipping breakfast may help with weight-loss. Regardless of all that, whether or not you have breakfast does indeed mess with your metabolism. “We’ve had a prolonged rest after sleeping—but breakfast helps to signal that we’re awake, we’re working during the day, and lets our bodies know to start getting things moving,” writes Jennifer Markowitz, MS, RD. “The first meal you have is giving you fuel, pumping the gas so to speak, and getting the body ready to go. Metabolic changes, hormones, and the body’s insulin is [more] regulated when people choose to eat breakfast.”
#3 You’ll feel more stressed.
Cortisol, one of the primary “stress hormones” produced by the adrenal glands, spikes in the morning to help wake you up. Let it go unleashed and you're likely to feel anxious and possibly even jittery. Eating a healthy breakfast helps your body bring down and balance your cortisol levels to help keep you chill until they naturally neutralize mid-day.
#4 You’ll be a bit dumber.
Having a healthy breakfast is good for concentration and mental abilities – which is why school breakfast programs have become nearly universal over the past decade. Most studies have been conducted on children, but the initial body of evidence for adults shows some similar correlations and an especially strong relationship between eating a healthy breakfast and improved memory. If you have a big test or presentation at work, are meeting new people, or learning important information -- eat yo breakfast!
#5 You’ll increase your risk of a heart attack.
In a study conducted over 16 years published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, men who reported that they regularly skipped breakfast had a higher risk of a heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease. (And there's no reason to think this wouldn't apply to ladies, too.) “Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time,” says Leah E. Cahill, Ph.D., study lead author and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “Don’t skip breakfast,” Cahill says. “Eating breakfast is associated with a decreased risk of heart attacks. Incorporating many types of healthy foods into your breakfast is an easy way to ensure your meal provides adequate energy and a healthy balance of nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.”
As you can guess, grabbing a donut or muffin on your way to work isn’t going to give you the true beneficial boosts of a healthy breakfast. If you’re pressed for time, try pre-prepped, nutrient-dense smoothies; easy overnight oats; or premade acai bowls. Learn more about these nutritious, delicious breakfast hacks by clicking through. Then, eat 'em up and go forth to conquer life!