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Is Skipping Breakfast Bad for Fat Loss?

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Many diets and eating plans recommend eating a morning meal- and these guidelines, expert nutrition tips and of course cereal companies usually refer to breakfast as ‘the most important meal of the day’. However many people still choose to skip it.

The importance of a morning meal for health and weight control has been a long debated subject for some time. Understanding how best to structure your daily eating is key when planning fat loss strategies so we wanted to take a look at the research.

Does it affect weight and fat loss? In this article we’ll take a look.

In this article you will learn:

  • The background to breakfast
  • Is skipping breakfast bad for fat loss?
  • Are there any side effects to skipping your morning meal?

The background to breakfast

Currently 25% of Americans skip their early morning meal [1]. With hectic, stressful lifestyles sometimes we choose to omit something from our daily routine – the decision on whether to have an extra 30 minutes in bed, or eat instead can be a difficult one… and some of us just don’t feel hungry in the morning either which makes the decision easier.

Evidence suggest that young adult males aged 18-34 are most likely to miss their morning meal, and those least likely to miss it are females aged over 55. The number of children skipping morning meals is on the increase too.

There are a number of studies that show those who regularly eat in the morning have better relationships with food, and lead healthier lifestyles – however it is difficult (and probably unlikely) to prove that it is due the meal itself.

Not only do those who skip breakfast tend to be overweight, they also tend to eat late at night, smoke, and have higher incidences of illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol [2].

But is the act of a.m. meal skipping making us fat? Let’s have a look at what the research says…


Is skipping breakfast bad for fat loss?

As you’ll see, the research is somewhat conflicting, with studies concluding different things. Here is a breakdown of the most important and best studies:

#Study 1: Kobayashi et al [3]

In this study, published in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, the authors investigated the link between morning meal skipping and body weight gain, insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. They wanted to test the claims that missing your morning meal would decrease all-day metabolism.

In order to test this, they recruited 8 males and asked one them to firstly eat a morning meal, and then skip it on a different day, but compensate the loss of food energy by following it with bigger meals at lunch and supper.

The results found that whilst blood sugar levels increased over the 24 hour testing period, neither energy expenditure nor fatty acid use changed at all, suggesting that this dietary habit had no effect on energy balance. 

#Study 2: Dhurandhar et al [4]

In this study, 309 overweight and obese adults were asked to either eat breakfast or skip it – it was up to them. Their weight was tracked against a control group over a 4 month period.

After the test period had finished there were no differences in body weight between the two groups, suggesting that it did not matter if people ate in the morning or not.

Some studies have even shown that missing your morning meal can reduce overall calorie intake….

#Study 3: Levitsky et al

For this study, volunteers were recruited that had a habit of either eating an a.m. meal, or missing it. They were placed into one of three groups:

  • Group 1: No morning meal
  • Group 2: High carbohydrate meal
  • Group 3: High fiber meal

Interestingly all groups ate around the same amount of calories at lunch time, even though group 1 reported being hungrier. 

In a second study conducted using the same participants, the volunteers were given the option of either eating a hearty morning meal of 624kcal or none at all. The calorie intake was then measured in both groups for the rest of the day.

Even though the non-morning meal group reported being hungrier, they also reported a calorie deficit of 408kcal by the end of the day.

This study demonstrated that by missing the a.m. meal you could reduce daily calorie intake and that you don’t compensate in either your lunch or evening meals to gather back lost food energy. 

This wasn’t a one-off finding either. The next study found similar results – but this time at a cost…


Key Points:

  • Research suggests that skipping breakfast has no effect on the amount of energy you burn throughout the day.
  • Some studies have found that you can even reduce total daily calories by missing the morning meal.

Are there any side effects to skipping breakfast?

Whilst the evidence discussed above leads us to believe that skipping breakfast doesn’t really affect our ability to lose fat or weight, there may be some evidence to suggest that you still need to try and eat a morning meal if you want to reduce risk of potential illness.

#Study 4: Geliebter et al [6]

In this study, 36 overweight volunteers were assigned into one of three groups for a period of 4 weeks:

  • Group 1: oat porridge
  • Group 2: frosted cornflakes
  • Group 3: water only

After the study, results showed that group 3 had a higher average weight loss compared to the other two groups, and there were no differences in body composition or energy expenditure.

However, the group also showed elevated total cholesterol concentrations relative to the cornflakes and oat porridge groups.

Similar results have also been published in the journal Circulation [1]. In this study, which assessed the eating habits of 26,902 men, participants were found to have a 27% higher risk of heart attack if they skipped their morning meal.

This increase was attributed to the notion that those who didn’t eat in the morning were hungrier late at night, ‘perhaps‘ leading to metabolic changes that cause heart disease.

Whilst we know from research discussed earlier in the article that calorie compensation in the evening might probably not occur, it is still a big and also worrying increase in risk factors and something to be aware of.

Summary – is skipping breakfast bad for fat loss?

With hectic, stressful lifestyles we sometimes struggle to fit everything into sometimes daily routine – and when the decision on whether to have an extra 30 minutes in bed, or eat a good, wholesome morning meal presents itself, it can leave us with a difficult decision to make.

With 25% of Americans missing out on their morning meals, there seems to be an ever-increasing number of people choosing to miss out.

There are a number of studies that show that those who regularly eat in the morning have better relationships with food, and lead healthier lifestyles – however it is difficult (and probably unlikely) to prove that it is breakfast itself that is the only reason for better health indices.

Evidence suggests that your morning meal probably isn’t ‘the most important meal of the day’ and is instead optional – it’s a matter of personal preference, as well as appetite, as to whether you choose to eat in the morning.

If you do choose to eat an early morning meal then we suggest that you choose low-sugar, high-protein options in order to start your fat loss strategy for the day.

Is there anything else you can do to burn fat?

Instant Knockout is an to-of-its-class fat burner supplement that helps you achieve fat loss goals by boosting your metabolism in a safe way. It contains natural ingredients that help you to keep fuller for longer and reduce appetite – so it’s perfect for those who skip breakfast.

It’s even been endorsed by multiple MMA fighterswho have seen benefits such as:

  • Increased Calorie Burning – Turn on your fat burning furnaces
  • More Energy – You’ll be able to exercise harder and for longer
  • Appetite Control – You’ll naturally reduce food cravings which will help you maintain a strict diet
  • Day-Long Fat Burning – Regular servings throughout the day, allow your body to constantly burn fat

Learn More About Instant Knockout


  1. Kant, AK et al. 40-year trends in meal and snack eating behaviors of American adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015; 115(1): 50-63
  2. Cahill, LE. Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation. 2013 Jul 23;128(4):337-43
  3. Kobayashi, F et al. Effect of breakfast skipping on diurnal variation of energy metabolism and blood glucose. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2014; 8(3): e201-98
  4. Dhurandhar, EJ et al. The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014; 100(2): 507-13
  5. Levitsky, DA et al. Effect of skipping breakfast on subsequent energy intake. Physiol Behav. 2013; 119:9-16
  6. Geleibter, A et al. Skipping breakfast leads to weight loss but also elevated cholesterol compared with consuming daily breakfasts of oat porridge or frosted cornflakes in overweight individuals: a randomised controlled trial. J Nutr Sci. 2014; 13: e56