Is skipping breakfast something that is good, or not? Is it something that can help you leave a longer life?
According to recent reports, the conflicting evidence about nutrition suggests that it is often a case of when you eat, rather than just what you eat that determines a good outcome in terms of longevity and health.
Having breakfast – or not – is one such flashpoint.
Having breakfast has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, obesity and cholesterol in some studies.
Despite these findings, Babylon GP Dr Sinan Mir tends not to promote breakfast in his dealings with clients.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he says: “I often encourage my clients, if they are breakfast neutral, to consider skipping it.”
Dr Mir outlines six key reasons for this:
- The evidence on whether breakfast is good or bad for us is wildly conflicting. There are no true knowns in this space as the quantity of evidence is sparse, the quality of studies is uniformly poor and in some cases it is sullied by unwarranted industry involvement.
- The foods commonly associated with breakfast are often highly processed and refined. A typical breakfast of a common sugary cereal (pick your brand), toast with jam and glass of orange juice has the equivalent of about 20 cubes of sugar! The worst thing is that people may perceive some of these items as being “healthy” (they’re generally not). And don’t even get me started on the fry ups….
- Not eating a meal (such as breakfast) helps people to create a sense of discipline and mastery over their cravings and is often a powerful catalyst to other positive health behaviours eg starting exercise.
- Skipping breakfast often helps with weight loss (more than those who eat breakfast) by consuming less calories and lowering insulin – the master regulator of metabolism, and the chief hormone that prevents us from burning our excess fat supplies for energy.
- In the early journey for people to control dietary cravings, it is often easier for people to skip a meal, than to learn alot about different types of food or to radically change their diet. In this sense, it is a simple and sustainable change to eating habits that most people attune to very quickly.
- Skipping a meal such as breakfast, also known as time restricted feeding, has been shown to have anti-aging and disease prevention benefits.