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Why You Don’t Need to Start Fasting

Breakfast yogurt bowl with fruit and nuts

Source: qlinart (Flickr)


I continue to be truly amazed at the differences found within each of our bodies. We are unique beings with our own bio-individuality physiology and biochemistry. So it’s no surprise to me that our uniqueness as individuals is expressed right on down to

our preferences for how, when, and what we eat. As someone who never skips eating breakfast, I cringe when I hear people say that you need to fast. They say things like “no food or water after midnight.” Really? Those are actually the instructions for someone getting an abdominal ultrasound the next day, not for someone who’s just going about their normal day!

Don’t get me wrong. I understand there are times when fasting is necessary, such as when you’re having some blood work done and your doctor is specifically interested in testing your glucose or cholesterol levels. Results for those tests can be thrown off if you’re not fasting when blood is drawn.

Here’s a personal example of why fasting isn’t for everyone. As I mentioned above, I absolutely need to eat breakfast upon waking. Why? If I don’t eat anything, I get a headache, my energy levels plummet, and I feel weak. At this point, no amount of water or food makes my headache go away. By 10 a.m., if I haven’t eaten or had anything to drink, my body will feel off for most, if not all, of the day. Hopefully, by eating and drinking as normally as possible throughout the day, my body will return to homeostasis by dinnertime.

Consider this for a moment. The word breakfast literally means to “break (the) fast.” Say if your last meal was at 7 p.m., and you don’t eat again until 7 a.m. the next morning, you have been fasting for 12 hours. If you don’t eat until lunchtime, you’ve gone nearly 20 hours without eating! During that time, your body definitely starts to go a little off. For those of you trying to lose weight, or who experience hypoglycemia or fatigue, eating regularly balanced meals and snacks is especially important.

Evidence from a 2014 study published in the Journal of Rural Medicine shows just how important eating breakfast can be for people looking to lose or maintain weight. The study showed a connection between skipping breakfast and increased waist circumference and BMI measurements. Research surveys reported, “adults who skipped breakfast became obese at a rate five times higher than people who ate breakfast.” Study participants’ thermal release measurements had lower body temperatures and decreased energy. Not eating breakfast will cause a drop in blood sugar causing the body to breakdown muscle tissue to provide glucose for the brain. This loss of muscle tone will cause a further decrease in metabolism. Muscles increase our metabolism, which is why weight-bearing exercise is highly recommended.

So it’s the truth when you hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Which is why I advise my clients to eat within 30 minutes to an hour upon waking. Some great breakfast options include: yogurt, nuts/seeds, toast, nut butter, a protein smoothie (make sure it’s not loaded with sugar!), cheese, fruit, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, etc. You’ve got this!

Does the thought of eating breakfast everyday sound like too much of a challenge? Do you want some help finding out your breakfast eating style? Then jump over to my nutrition consults page and let’s set up a time to chat.

Sources: J Rural Med. 2014;9(2):51-8. doi: 10.2185/jrm.2887. Epub 2014 Jun 17.

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