Why missing breakfast really is bad for your health

It's often credited as the most important meal of the day - but did you know that skipping breakfast can have real health implications?

Thursday, 25th October 2018, 2:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th October 2018, 2:03 pm
A healthy breakfast gives you the best start to the day.

Breakfast is where we feed our bodies with vital nutrients and fuel, literally breaking the overnight fast we have had while we have been asleep.

For our bodies, skipping breakfast is like trying to drive to work with no petrol in the car.

Having breakfast means you are less likely to reach for a high-calorie snack mid-morning, and you may end up eating less at lunchtime too.

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Skipping meals may make us feel like we’re doing the right thing and cutting down on our intake of calories, but our bodies actually interpret missing meals as a signal to prepare for a prolonged fast.

When we skip meals, our bodies slow our metabolic rate down.

So in actual fact, skipping meals is not going to help us lose weight – and when we do eat after a period of starvation, often we end up eating more and may even gain weight.

Studies have shown that missing out on breakfast not only increases our risk of obesity, but also puts us at risk of developing diabetes and heart problems.

One study demonstrated how those who missed breakfast were less physically active over the course of the morning, suggesting that when we skip breakfast we may subconsciously reduce our activity levels.

Choosing a healthy option gives you the best start. Try switching from sugary cereals to those with little or no sugar.

Choose porridge or muesli for an energy-boosting start, and add fruit so you are also getting some of your five a day.

Protein-rich breakfasts such as scrambled eggs or baked beans on wholemeal toast are another good way to start your morning.

There is lots of help available, so talk to your local or online doctor about the healthy ways to make a change in your diet.

By Dr. Alexandra Phelan (GP with the NHS and Pharmacy2U)