What Happens to Your Body If You Don't Eat Breakfast, According to Doctors
Skipping this meal can have some unpleasant consequences.
Are you among the estimated 25 percent of Americans who skip breakfast daily? While you may think you're saving time or cutting calories, the truth is that skipping the most important meal of the day can have some serious consequences for your health.
Best Life consulted with a health and nutrition expert to find out exactly what happens to your body when you don't eat breakfast—and the results may surprise you. From blood sugar crashes to weight gain and poor digestion, the effects of skipping breakfast can be far-reaching and potentially dangerous. Read on to learn more about the importance of starting your day with a healthy meal.
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You may experience increased hunger and cravings.
Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian with Balance One Supplements, tells Best Life, "Skipping breakfast can increase hunger cravings because it leads to a drop in blood sugar levels, triggering the release of hormones that signal the body to seek out food, often leading to cravings for sugary or high-calorie foods. Additionally, skipping breakfast can lead to overeating later in the day as hunger builds up, contributing to weight gain over time."
Skipping breakfast can cause you to feel hungrier throughout the day, and you may find yourself reaching for unhealthy snacks to satisfy your cravings. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, people who skipped breakfast had a higher calorie intake later in the day than those who ate breakfast. Additionally, skipping breakfast can also cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leading to increased appetite and cravings.
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Your energy levels may suffer.
When you wake up in the morning, your body needs fuel to kickstart your metabolism and provide energy for the day. Skipping breakfast means your body doesn't get the energy it needs, and you may feel tired and sluggish as a result. A Feb. 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that skipping breakfast can decrease physical activity and energy expenditure throughout the day.
"Skipping breakfast lowers energy because it means your body does not receive the necessary nutrients to fuel your metabolism and provide energy for physical and mental activity, leading to feelings of fatigue and low energy levels throughout the day," says Best. "When you skip breakfast, your body may turn to other sources of energy, such as muscle tissue, which can further contribute to feelings of fatigue and weakness."
You may struggle to concentrate.
Skipping breakfast can also affect your cognitive function, making concentrating and staying focused difficult. According to the BMC, several studies have shown that skipping breakfast lowers cognitive function and work efficiency. Therefore, breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day for nutritional intake as well as work or school performance.
"Skipping breakfast lowers concentration because it means your brain does not receive the glucose it needs to function at its best, which can lead to decreased cognitive performance, impaired memory, and difficulty focusing on tasks," says Best. "Also, skipping breakfast can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, further impacting concentration and cognitive function."
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You could experience digestive issues.
When you skip breakfast, you miss out on the fiber and nutrients that help keep your digestive system functioning properly.
"Eating breakfast can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which help break down food and improve digestion," says Best. "When you skip breakfast, your digestive system may not function as efficiently, leading to issues like bloating, constipation, and indigestion."
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. If you have specific health questions or concerns, always consult your healthcare provider directly.