I have been alive for 31 years and in that time I’ve been taught things about nutrition for about 21 years. Here is a list of things I remember being told either in school, the news, reading in a book, or hearing from a friend or family member about nutrition:
- Fat is bad for you
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
- Juice is healthy
- Gatorade is healthy
- Diet soda is the best alternative to soda
- Oh, you want to lose weight? Adjust your diet to follow this food pyramid.
- Bread makes you fat, eat only whole grain bread
- Oh, you want to lose weight? Track every single calorie you put into your body and then cut it by 25%
- The Atkins diet doesn’t work long-term, your body needs carbs for fuel. Dr. Atkins was a fat crackpot who died of heart disease.
- Oh, you want to lose weight? Just focus on doing cardio.
- Lifting weights turns fat into muscle
- Meat and animal products make you fat and cause cancer (The China Study, which has been proven quite controversial and mostly false)
Do we know anything about nutrition? We’re starting to, but change takes a long time. The nutrition ideology in the United States has been set back and harmed by not only the McGovern report, which helped create the food pyramid, villainize dietary fat, but also sugar lobbyists altering health studies.
The Last Pillar of Nutrition “Facts”
There are things I’ve missed, (“Dr.” Oz recommendations, diets that start with “21 days to…” and Advocare), but every single item on that list has proven in some way to be false. The only exception is breakfast being the most important meal of the day. With everything we’re learning about nutrition, does breakfast being the most important meal of the day remain true?
Breakfast: The Most Important Meal?
I have no doubt in my mind you’ve heard “don’t skip breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day,” multiple times in your life. For the sake of simplicity, let’s remove children from the equation (click here for a more in-depth discussion on kids skipping breakfast) and just focus on adults. There has been a myriad of studies on humans (why did I clarify “humans?” Some very popular nutrition studies used rats to prove facts rather than humans, looking at you, China Study) that show the benefits of intermittent fasting (more to come on Intermittent Fasting next week).
Should You Skip Breakfast?
My “career” as an obese male has taught me that we need to stop telling everyone, absolutely and unequivocally that they have to follow X or Y. Everyone is different and that needs to be recognized. What I will say is that skipping breakfast has made a noticeable impact on how I feel, how much energy I have and my weight (again, more to come next week).
First of all, if you’re thinking about skipping out on cereal, sugary yogurt, Clif bars, doughnuts or bagels, YES, absolutely skip that. When I use the word breakfast, I am talking to the Ron Swanson’s of the world.
Thinking about skipping breakfast? Here is what I would recommend, in addition to reading this article:
- Make sure you’ve been on a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet for at least 2 weeks.
- Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
- Drink coffee and, or green tea, which have been proven to help curb appetite.
Skipping breakfast isn’t “extreme” or “dangerous,” but with implementing any change in diet or exercise do it intelligently, safely and give it time. If you’re really worried about it, consider consulting a physician.