Does breakfast REALLY matter? (When trying to lose weight?)

(50 Posts)
moonstorm Mon 11-Mar-13 18:33:02

I'm interested in asking people who have lost weight/ are in the process of losing weight rather than what the books say...

I am trying to watch my calorie intake. If I miss breakfast, I don't get hungry and eat less throughout the day. If I eat breakfast, I start picking immediately and eat more throughout the day...

I have so much weight to lose...

moonstorm Mon 11-Mar-13 18:34:56

ps I did really well on the 5:2 diet and lost a lot, but could only maintain it on holiday - I can't do it when working/ stressed.

I comfort eat loads...

Iwantmybed Mon 11-Mar-13 18:41:19

I find that too. I've started to eat a banana when I get hungry, about 10ish.

newgirl Mon 11-Mar-13 18:52:37

It's vital - it's about long term giving your body what it needs - don't be so hard on yourself!

No, eating breakfast does not work for me - instead it just kicks me into hunger all day. I'm doing 5:2 and what works for me is capitalising on the fact I never feel hungry when I wake up and having that stretch as long as possible. Every day, not just fast days.

So I fasted yesterday and then ate a proper breakfast (eggs and bacon) at 11am.

As long as you eat properly and eat something satisfying when you are hungry and not gorge on croissants then I think it makes a difference.

I find that if I dont eat breakfast I dont get hungry until maybe 2-3pm. But then I binge.

The point of eating breakfast is that it starts your metabolism early in the day. You eat regularly and are less likely to stuff your face. Then theres obviously the longer time for your body to use the calories.

Our meals should really be bigger in the morning and get smaller through the day. But in the UK we have our main meal at night.

Sorry wanna, really hate to contradict you but I believed every word you wrote until 2 months ago when I saw the 5:2 diet documentary and read the Dr Moseley book.

And now I think exactly the opposite grin

I cant get my head around the 5:2 diet at all grin

Is it not true that the body will store food as fat after a large fast then?

Prawntoast Mon 11-Mar-13 19:51:57

wanna, don't think so in my case. Have been doing 5:2 for 8 weeks, lost a stone so far, I eat at around 6pm the day before a fast and then not again until around 6pm the next day. I tend to eat breakfast now later than I used to as I'm not hungry when I wake up. I wouldn't eat after about 8pm though but only because I think your body finds it hard to cope with digestion and trying to sleep.

Apparently not. It's literally the opposite of everything I've believed for years confused

But it's really, really working for me and I can eat way more than I've ever been able to eat in the past when I've dieted and eaten breakfast. It's all about shoving your body into repair mode by fasting as eating constantly by grazing means your body is on 'go-go' all the time.

Seriously, watch the documentary - if even have of this is true it's going to revolutionise our lives - there's one bit where rats don't get Alzheimer's til 80 instead of 50 which made my jaw drop - just through fasting

BsshBossh Mon 11-Mar-13 20:07:11

Breakfast trips my hunger switch - if I eat it, I eat more over the course of the day; if I skip it, I eat less. I regularly exercise on no food and it doesn't seem to have impaired my energy levels. I'm a regular 5:2 faster but even on non-fast days I skip breakfast. Have lost weight and am nearly at goal.

BsshBossh Mon 11-Mar-13 20:11:07

Also, by not eating breakfast my body switches to burning fat quicker. I've lost inches far more quickly since I've delayed eating.

I rarely eat breakfast. When I do, I find I'm snacking all day, constantly thinking about my next opportunity to eat. It's like having stoked the boiler early in the day, it needs frequent maintenance!

If I don't eat breakfast (most days) I eat a frugal lunch, a snack about 5pm then a proper dinner in the evening. In this way I am able to maintain my healthy BMI of 20.

Please don't think I'm being smug - different things work for different people and this works for me. DH's family are always banging on about the importance of a good breakfast to set you up for a healthy day. They are all clinically obese.

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 20:12:28


If I eat breakfast I just eat an extra 200 - 500 calories per day.

Can anyone explain the maths?

sherazade Mon 11-Mar-13 20:19:17

What i've noticed is that (althought i dont diet), because I eat very light/little in the evenings if not nothing generally after 5.3pm, I wake up ravenous and need breakfast. My friends who are constantly complaining about being overweight miss breakfast but then that is because they've eaten so heavily/late the night before which generally means not a very good diet.

I think it depends not so much on whether you eat breakfast or not, but what you eat for breakfast. Eggs and bacon, for example, will keep your insulin and blood glucose levels nice and steady, and you'll feel full for a long time. Cereal or toast on the other hand will give you an insulin spike, and then hunger when your insulin levels fall.

I have a cooked breakfast most mornings, which lasts me until the evening. Might not work for everyone, but it does for me.

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 20:46:02

Yes, and eating bacon every day is such a good idea hmm.

When I was a teenager I always skipped breakfast due to not being hungry before I had to leave for school (45 minute each way commute) and as a result I spent the whole of first break face down in chocolate, crisps and hot buttered toast. When I went on my first diet (daily calorie restriction) twelve years ago I started eating breakfast and it really seemed to help me not to scoff chocolate all morning. I ate breakfast everyday since, until...

6 months ago I started the fast diet. For the first 4 months I carried on eating something at breakfast time, but eventually the fasting changed my appetite so that now I often don't want breakfast. I find on fasting days it is helpful not to eat breakfast as the sooner in the day I eat the more I end up eating in total that day. On non-fast days I eat breakfast if I'm hungry in the morning and skip it if I'm not. Skipping breakfast now no longer leads to the ridiculous mid-morning scoff-fest that used to happen.

I have to say, I don't believe in the idea that breakfast is necessary to raise the metabolism and enable weight loss. I used to believe it, but it seems some of the research that has been done into fasting would indicate that the more times you eat in the the more insulin is needed. I'm not very good at explaining the science but it seems this is a bad thing both healthwise and for weight loss.

Personally, I think whether breakfast is a good thing or a bad thing comes down to what's going to happen if you do or don't eat it. If you're not hungry at breakfast and can easily make it to a sensible lunch without picking but would find yourself ravenous by 11am after a cereal breakfast, then why bother wasting the calories on breakfast? On the other hand, if skipping breakfast sends you to the shop for a king size mars bar and a family pack of Walkers then a sensible breakfast may be better for your waistline. I agree that something like eggs would be a better choice than a high GI breakfast like cornflakes at keeping the hunger at bay if you do need to eat breakfast.

A cooked breakfast doesn't have to be bacon now, does it? Eggs, home made burger with a slice of cheese is still a cooked breakfast!

Moknicker Wed 13-Mar-13 15:18:11

I dont eat breakfast as I cant face food that early in the morning, feel sluggish and funnily enough more hungry if I do eat. Also I put on weight.

I am happiest skipping breakfast and then having an early lunch at 12. Works for me.

moonstorm Wed 13-Mar-13 18:35:52

Nice to hear it's not just me. smile I might just keep on this way and see what happens. What I really need to do is stop eating late into the evening...

BsshBossh Wed 13-Mar-13 19:47:36

If late night eating is an issue, could you consider an eating window? I'm doing 5:2 but on non-fasting days I try to eat within an eight hour window in order to get in a mini-fast of 16 hours (for health benefits). I only eat between 2-10pm because I work really well in the mornings and don't like breaking my productivity by fixing snacks/meals. But yours could be something like 11 and 7 or 12 and 8pm to avoid eating afterwards.

moonstorm Wed 13-Mar-13 21:08:08

Great idea, I think that sounds really workable.

MoreBeta Wed 13-Mar-13 21:17:51

Missing breakfast is bad for you. It makes you snack through the day.

I have a normal sized breakfast, porridge, muesli, or some sort of pastry and coffee.

I then have a good lunch.

I dont eat between meals and I dont eat a meal after lunchtime until the following morning. I have a cup of tea and a bit of dried fruit, a biscuit or some nuts in the evening but nothing more.

My wife follows the same regime. I never drink alcohol in the evening and never have coffee after breakfast time.

Eating in the evening piles weight on and I find drinking coffee makes my blood sugar go up and down so it makes me feel hungry and I then tend to eat biscuits.

Stop the coffee, stop eating between meals and stop eating (and drinking alcohol) in the evening and weight will drop off.

moonstorm Wed 13-Mar-13 21:20:56

But it doesn't make me snack, it suppresses my appetite, that's what got me wondering... I do agree that no snaking really helps, but I'm sure missing breakfast helps me not to snack in the morning.

INeverSaidThat Wed 13-Mar-13 22:14:50

I slug a slimfast drink. It is 230 calories and lasts me until lunch. I don't feel like breakfast but enjoy the cafe latte slimfast. I wait until they are on special for a £1 each.

frenchfancy Thu 14-Mar-13 06:35:46

Morebeta it sounds like you are just repeating the same rubbish that the diet industry has told us for years. "Missing breakfast makes you snack."

You can't use one rule for everyone. I am not a snacker. Missing breakfast just means I eat 400 less calories. We are all different. We need to follow our own bodies and be true to ourselves.

What is bad for you is eating fatty sugary snacks. Avoid those and you are onto a winner.

biryani Thu 14-Mar-13 06:56:01

I agree, bookstore. I haven't eaten breakfast for donkeys years and I swear it's the only way I can keep my weight down. I always feel more hungry later in the day, and struggle to keep my food intake down. Do whatever works for you!! I'm always suspicious of advice in books; you know your body better than anyone. Joanna Lumley was saying the other day that breakfast wakes up her appetite and I agree with her - she' s slim as a wand.

Here here biryani smile

loubielou31 Fri 15-Mar-13 13:55:23

I read somewhere that anything you eat before 10am would count as breakfast. Perhaps take that healthy breakfast to work with you and eat it when you're ready?

Masterchuff Fri 15-Mar-13 13:58:27

It's utter rubbish that you must eat breakfast. Why eat when you're not hungry??? I've lost 7st7lb and very rarely eat til 1pm. If I'm hungry before then I'll eat then.

No, I often miss breakfast and am losing weight just fine.I'm not doing 5:2 but do try to have a few days a week of 800-900 cals

" Missing breakfast is bad for you. It makes you snack through the day."

Very general statement and obviously doesn't apply to all. I'm hoping this "missing breakfast is bad" myth will be debunked, along with the starvation mode theory (which I strongly suspect to be rubbish)

Gales Fri 15-Mar-13 14:22:12

I think it's about developing healthy eating habits and a healthy attitude to food. It may well be true that having breakfast makes you feel hungrier earlier for lunch, but all the people I know who have never had to worry about their weight eat regular meals, including breakfast.

teaandthorazine Fri 15-Mar-13 15:26:31

Eating breakfast is NOT essential. Many people manage extremely well without breakfast. Others can't leave the house until they've eaten. Find out what works for you, and if missing breakfast is it, carry on!

Personally, I can't face breakfast. I will often skip it entirely and just move on to lunch, and I've been that way for most of my adult life. I do now follow a low-carb WOE as I love having stable blood sugars grin but I am not, and never have been, 'overweight'. And yes, I always find that if I do eat breakfast, I eat a lot more the rest of the day.

It is not 'bad for you' to miss breakfast. What rubbish. There is, in fact, an increasing body of evidence that says it might be actively good for you (eg: fasting etc).

Talkinpeace Fri 15-Mar-13 16:00:22

Breakfast is vital for the profit margin of Kellogs, Nestle and Nabisco.
Breakfast is not vital for your health or well-being.

I've skipped breakfast every week day since I was 17.
I CANNOT do without supper
but breakfast is for weekends
and lunch is for non fast days.

Gales Fri 15-Mar-13 16:10:33

How much has you weight fluctuated over that time Talkin?

Talkinpeace Fri 15-Mar-13 16:15:49

I held steady at around 8 1/2 stone till early 20's.
Then around 9 stone through 20's
then got a driving licence and discovered the office sandwich trolley and by the time I had kids hat crept up to 12 stone.
Did WW for six months and got back to 9 stone.
Over the next ten years put a stone back on - 10 stone at start of September.
Started 5:2 - got to just under 9 stone by Christmas and have held steady at that since then.
Am nearly 48.

SarahJ783 Fri 15-Mar-13 16:18:21

Hmmm even though everybody on here says that eating breakfast makes it worse for them I find it helps me. I have some cereal in the morning and then at work I have a bag of mixed nuts next to me. When ever I feel the need to eat I have a few nuts and I feel fine again. Maybe its just me haha. If I went without breakfast in the morning I think I would die.

Gales Fri 15-Mar-13 16:27:06

Hmm, I've had breakfast (and two other regular meals) every day of my life and I've been between 9st 10 and 10st 4 for the last 35 years (except when pregnant)

I don't know if it's necessary to have breakfast for health reasons, but it is if you're to avoid spending large parts of your life on a diet IMO. I agree for weight loss eating less is necessary, so avoiding breakfast will help if that does indeed mean your overall intake is reduced, but as away of life, from childhood to keep weight steady for a lifetime, it is necessary IMO.

Agree though that anything made by Kelloggs etc is not a good breakfast and I don't buy cereals (or any other food that comes in a box)

Gales Fri 15-Mar-13 16:27:55

I'm 5'8" so although that might sound heavy, it's not!

BsshBossh Fri 15-Mar-13 16:33:55

Gales I know people who have also eaten breakfast every day and have endured wild fluctuations in weight over the years. It's all anecdotal really but the evidence of this particular thread is that many of us are finding breakfast unnecessary to maintaining or losing weight. We simply eat more when we have breakfast than if we don't eat it. Hell I even exercise better on an empty stomach. I've eaten breakfast most of my life but gave it up early last year and lost 57 lbs. I eat normal calories for my weight/height/age/gender (TDEE) except for 2 days fasting (5:2).

Gales Fri 15-Mar-13 16:41:35

Yes Bssh, but these are all people trying to lose weight, presumably they're trying to lose weight because they weigh too much (or more than they want to) And I agreed that missing breakfast will help weight loss if the result is that you eat less.

BsshBossh Fri 15-Mar-13 16:47:09

Gales ah yes, I see your point. Well, only time will tell if I can not eat breakfast and maintain my weight (currently 8 lbs to goal).

LillethTheCat Fri 15-Mar-13 17:35:45

I eat breakfast as Ive always thought that it did help weightloss, but it hasn't so much with me. After reading this thread it sounds obvious that having or not having breakfast will have different reactions to different people. Why did I not realise that before?

Im 5'5 weight 11st 9 and would like to weigh 10st. Have thought about the 5:2, but don't know how I would manage less than 500 calories on one day let alone 2 a week.

Talkinpeace Fri 15-Mar-13 18:08:46

a lot easier than you'd think - especially if those 500 calories are mostly vegetables!

LillethTheCat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:18:12

I might give it a go. The main obstacle I have in my way is DH who is very eye rolly at diets and losing weight. He has the train of thought of you are what you are and being a bit podgy is fine. Also he does the meal planning and cooking so I have no idea half the time on the calories I am consuming.

Ive been trying not to snack, but in cold weather all I want is cake. Im going to try something again in April. Last year I lost a stone between April and October and have only put on 4lbs since.

Talkinpeace Fri 15-Mar-13 18:32:58

Being a bit podgy is NOT fine. It leads to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, alzheimers, irritable bowel and many other chronic disease that make old age a misery.
Fasting is really really good for you.
Snacking is indeed best avoided

LillethTheCat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:56:21

Just read that really quick and thought it said Farting is really really good for you grin That would explain why the dog is really healthy then wink

Its the snacking and the hot chocolate that I cut down on last summer and I intend to again. In summer its so much easier to eat fruit and to go out for a run so Ive been putting it off until the weather gets nicer.

After this thread though Im going to give not eating breakfast a go for all of 2 weeks and see how I get on.

Another big problem is that I am such a fussy eater, Ive been looking at the 5:2 recipes and Ive not found one I want to eat.

moonstorm Fri 15-Mar-13 20:47:45

Just seen all of these replies!

It's really interesting to read what all of you are saying. I never used to eat breakfast and was always slim (but that was also pre car and pre 'proper' job days, when I was naturally more active without needing to go to the gym). I started eating breakfast when I started working properly - in hindsight I think eating was a coping mechanism for getting up early and then gradually I started to listen to all the theories about how good breakfast is for you. Interestingly, when I think of the cereal I used to eat when I used to skip breakfast, it was always as a pudding/ supper.

I have a habit of eating healthily and the emotionally binge eating blush. However I rather enjoy the feeling of being hungry - and I eat less when I have been very hungry before eating (like I am able to distinguish the 'full' feeling much more easily..)

I am glad I started this thread, breakfast is out from now on! smile

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