How often have you heard that eating breakfast boosts your metabolism? It might seem logical that eating a meal first thing in the morning gets your metabolism revved up, but the fact is that there’s no evidence to prove it actually does. In fact, scientists are clear about the benefits of breakfast and a boost in metabolism isn’t one of them.
Breakfast and Metabolism: What Scientists Say
When it comes to scientific studies and metabolism, researchers agree that the science is inconclusive: there’s no research showing a direct link between breakfast and a better metabolism.
In a recent conference, members of the American Society for Nutrition met to discuss how eating frequency affects our weight. They evaluated a wide range of studies that investigated meal frequency, weight, and metabolism. Their conclusion? Since eating habits are very hard to study, research hasn’t been able to establish a clear link to an increased metabolism. In fact, they found no data to suggest that eating frequency, in general, has an effect on the calories we burn each day.
A statement released by the International Society for Sports Nutrition reinforced that conclusion, saying, “Increased meal frequency does not appear to significantly enhance diet-induced thermogenesis, total energy expenditure or resting metabolic rate.” In real terms, that means that eating regular meals does not have a direct effect on the number of calories we burn every day.
Breakfast and Metabolism: What Dietitians Say
Nutrition and diabetes educator Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., CDE, explains that many people misunderstand the benefits of eating breakfast.
“Eating breakfast doesn’t affect metabolic rate in the way people like to say it does. There are studies to support breakfast eating for weight management, but not for a calorie-burning boost.”
Her opinion is supported by the position statement of the American Dietetic Association, which is endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine. In their statement about eating breakfast, they confirm that, while eating breakfast has been associated with a lower body weight, there is no clear evidence to suggest that it has any effect on metabolism.
Benefits of Eating a Healthy Breakfast
So does this mean you should skip breakfast? No. Just because eating breakfast may not improve your metabolism doesn’t mean that you should skip the meal entirely.
I always start my day with protein. Any professional you pick to consult you on weight management to weight loss will tell you the same. Eggs are a great source of protein. Ham and eggs with wheat toast is my favorite, but this is where you need a doctor’s advice. Some people have cholesterol problems and can’t eat the same foods I do. I also eat oatmeal in the morning and skip the wheat toast.
Breakfast will give you the fuel to start your engine and keep you going until lunch. If I know I’m going to eat a late lunch then I’ll eat yogurt or a banana mid-morning. Be careful to watch your calories in the morning, don’t blow the calorie budget for the day, but 2/3’s of all your daily calories should be consumed from the time you wake-up until you finish lunch. You eat those calories to give your body the fuel to create energy. That why you need to eat most of your food in the morning.
For me, the ham and eggs with oatmeal sets the pace and my other meals can be smaller. Big meals early in the day give you all day to burn the calories. Big meals at night give you almost no time to burn the calories before bed. At night your body burns almost no calories.
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