Is It Bad to Skip Breakfast?

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
August 03, 2023
Is It Bad to Skip Breakfast?

Skipping breakfast puts you in a different mindset, and you let good habits slide. The main thing for everyone is to eat healthy, yet many breakfast-skippers don’t.

If you don’t make time for breakfast, you’re not alone. Almost a quarter of American adults skip a morning meal.

A study, drawing on data from nearly 31,000 American adults, found that breakfast-skippers aren’t doing themselves any favors. They eat more calories, carbs, fat, and added sugar in later meals than breakfast-eaters. They are less likely to meet daily requirements for folate, calcium, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D, and have poorer diets in general.

Several earlier studies came to the same conclusions. Other research has found that people who skip breakfast smoke more, drink more alcohol, and exercise less. As a group, people who skip breakfast may be less interested in their health or less able to adopt good habits.


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Some evidence suggests that eating your calories earlier in the day, with a breakfast before 8:30 a.m., is good for blood sugar control and could help ward off diabetes.

Eating breakfast, however, doesn’t seem to help you lose weight. On the contrary, people who follow fasting routines, eating within an eight-hour window, usually skip breakfast, and some swear by their strategy. Intermittent fasting, however, may have side effects for some people, including headaches, a drop in blood sugar, and lack of concentration.

What you probably don’t know about breakfast

For centuries, people in Western Europe regarded breakfast as a meal for infants, the sick and elderly, and laborers. People might have had cheese and bread, honey, oil, and maybe wine before they went to work in a field. Over time, oatmeal and rice gruels became part of a standard breakfast. It wasn’t until the 1500s that rich people began regularly eating breakfast and chose eggs and meat.

In the United States, a Clean-Living Movement in the late 1800s campaigned against meat and coffee, advocating instead whole grains. As part of that movement, John Harvey Kellogg developed a flaked breakfast cereal in 1894. In 1945, the Kellogg Company first introduced the cereal box that we know today.

Is it okay to eat eggs for breakfast?

For many years, Americans were told to avoid egg yolks if they were concerned about heart disease. But recent science has found that it’s okay to eat up to three whole eggs a day. About 30 percent of the population may see a rise in their total cholesterol when they eat eggs, but that’s probably not a concern even for them.

Is it okay to have coffee in the morning?

Coffee has many benefits. It may, however, not be a good idea to get up after too little sleep and drink only black coffee without eating breakfast. Some research suggests it will have a bad effect on your blood sugar control.

What you can do

What counts is getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and making your best effort not to eat more calories than you can burn. Breakfast is optional.

It’s possible that skipping breakfast puts you in a different mindset, and you let good habits slide. If you know or guess that’s the case for you, eat breakfast.

If this doesn’t apply, eat when you’re hungry. And make sure you get some exercise.


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August 03, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN