Yesterday’s post looked at fitness trainer John Kiefer’s reasons to not eat breakfast.

Briefly, an early breakfast, especially one with 30g or more of carbohydrate, interrupts the body’s ability to burn fat. Fat-burning hormones are at their peak around the time most of us get up — 7 a.m. Breakfast eaters, it is said, also lose weight. However, what is less well known is that weight loss is comprised of muscle, not fat.

Today’s entry gives more reasons from Kiefer’s article for, ‘Why Breakfast Is Nothing But a Scam’.

If you’re a non-breakfast eater, this will further justify not eating early in the morning. It will also give you more arguments to persuade family and friends that you are not harming your body by refraining from food at this time of day.

What kind of breakfast?

In general, the French paediatrician who said the only good breakfast is the one you want to eat is right.

On the other hand, millions of Westerners are eating carbohydrate-laden breakfasts and wondering why they are not losing weight with cereals and crisp-breads notionally designed for that.

Kiefer says:

When looked at from a scientific standpoint, skipping carbs at breakfast certainly appears to be a way to lose body fat faster—or, at the very least, to keep it off.

Kiefer says that one only needs a carb-laden breakfast if one is malnourished. The rest of us can and should drop the carbs.

Try eating eggs and fatty meats or oily fish. Not only will you feel as if you’ve had a feast — fat satiates us — you will probably eat less for lunch. A normally sized dinner, again with more fat than protein, vegetables and no starches should tide you over to the next day. Watch the weight and inches drop!

Breakfast and the brain

We have heard for decades that breakfast is essential for proper cognitive function. Therefore, everyone must eat something.

Yet, Kiefer maintains such evidence is anecdotal. Furthermore, this pertains to children, in particular. We all know that breakfast helps with attention span and good behaviour. At least, that is what we have been told.

Kiefer says that breakfast might not be responsible for this. It is more likely upbringing (emphases mine):

Researchers withheld breakfast from one group of kids, letting them eat their first meal at lunch, while a second group of kids at a so-called balanced breakfast. The result? When kids skip breakfast, they pay attention, behave, and perform better throughout the entire day[72-83]. We may not want to believe this, but it’s exactly what I’m talking about with regard to observation and proof. In the case of these kids, there must be some other factor relating breakfast to academic performance, because both vary in the same way with socioeconomic status[84], i.e. well-to-do parents have and spend time helping their children with academics, and they almost always serve breakfast.

Athletic performance

In his experience as a fitness trainer, Kiefer does not believe that skipping breakfast will harm an athlete’s performance, especially as the body is already prepared to burn fat early in the morning — without a meal:

As long as your glycogen stores remain adequate[87-88], this will have little to no effect on your strength levels.

Non-breakfast eaters, take heart

Kiefer concludes:

Skip carbs at breakfast. Skip breakfast altogether. This waste of a meal can keep you from burning fat, it can help store fat, it’ll lower your growth hormone levels, and the idea of it having any cognitive benefits is an urban legend … In reality, it’s the least important—and potentially most harmful to your physique—thing you can do all day.

If you don’t feel like eating in the morning, don’t. Your body is trying to tell you something. Listen to it.

My previous posts on breakfast can be found on the Recipes / Health / History page under ‘Breakfast — love it or loathe it’:

Paediatrician says children can skip breakfast

Breakfast is optional (American and English research trials)

Hunger between breakfast and lunch (blame carbs and low fat)

Fitness trainer on breakfast and the body