New study: Skipping breakfast does not lead to eating more


For decades we’ve heard the same refrain. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you skip it you may get hungry (the horror!) and end up eating more.

This breakfast-eating advice has only been based on the flimsiest of statistical data. To my knowledge no study has ever shown that people will eat more if they skip a meal, and logic certainly points in the opposite direction.

Now a new study shows that people who are instructed to skip breakfast end up eating about the same amount of food for lunch anyway. This means that the total food intake during the day end up being way smaller.

Pub Med: Effect of Extended Morning Fasting upon Ad Libitum Lunch Intake and Associated Metabolic and Hormonal Responses in Obese Adults

Eat breakfast if you like, but don’t expect to lose any weight from doing it. If you want to lose weight then no breakfast may be the best – and fastest – start of the day.


Intermittent Fasting for Beginners


What is Fasting? – Dr. Jason Fung
How to Maximize Fat Burning – Dr. Jason Fung
How to Fast – The Different Options – Dr. Jason Fung


Breakfast! Is It Really That Important?

Can Changing Your Mealtimes Make You Lose Weight?

“Intermittent Fasting to Compensate for Those Holiday Pounds”


  1. Robert
    I can't skip breakfast. I've tried. My blood sugar plummets (presumably from high fasting insulin levels). Even on a ketogenic diet. And by lunch I am real shaky. And not functioning well.

    I've watched people, including myself, make really irrational decisions because of low blood sugar. And it's just not worth it.

    Finding out what works best for each individual person seems worthwhile. Some people can skip breakfast, kudos to them. I can't. I've tested this extensively over the last 20 years. And not only that but I do better with animal protein, fat and little to no carbs in the morning.

  2. ben
    @robert - you might be diabetic or pre-diabetic? Get a glucometer and test your glucose
    Reply: #4
  3. Beth
    I am a female in my mid fifties. I do very well skipping breakfast. I have gone as late as a 2:30 p.m. start eat time, even though I always cut food off at 7:00 P.M.
    I find the 11A.M. to 7 P.M. routine to be sustainable.

    I think I do better with Low Carb, however. I sleep better at night and my skin is better. I have a better chance of losing weight. After reading the list of what to do under weight loss section, I might stick to the 11-7 routine for a while.

    In fact, here are the tweeks I am planning:

    1. 11-7 routine instead of 2-7 routine.
    2. Low carb -comfortable fat instead of LCHF. The list says to eat
    fat to satisfy. I like this better than other websites I have read that had calculators that said I should be eating 80-100 grams of fat per day. I tried this and I felt so heavy and uncomfortable.
    Thank goodness I found this website with some medical doctors! Maybe those truly high fat diets are great for male body builders in their twenties, but I am liking the intuitive approach better than the goal oriented (ie aim for 90 grams of fat per day).
    All in all, I think my body is very comfortable low carb and mini fasts, but I can totally understand if some bodies don't fast well, because I know people who eat more carbs than I do and seem to do ok, but my body does not like it.

  4. Jennifer Snow
    Some people just naturally make excess insulin for a number of reasons, and going keto, while it may help, will not always fix the problem.

    Adding more protein may help, as this can support blood sugar maintenance.

    I have the same problem although it's much less severe when I'm low carbing--I never really "wake up" in the morning until I eat something.

  5. Matt
    I started morning fasts about 4 weeks ago. I found it really easy and ended up doing it most days. Just get up, have coffee and if I am not hungry, then don't eat. It is a great way to recalibrate what 'hunger' really is, particularly when you have purged your system from the need for carbs.

    The natural progression was then to stretch it out to dinner 1 day. Then I did it again and again. Maybe 4 in a row now - 1 meal a day. And I really can't eat that much at dinner because I am used to eating less, I just can't eat that much any more.

    I am considering a 5 or 7 day fast now, but will wait and see next week. I have no doubt I will get to my goal without fasting. But fasting is super charging my progress, and that in turn means I get there faster and it keeps me super focused and motivated to stick with it. 19kg down, 11 to go

  6. BobM
    I used to HAVE to have breakfast, even while on a low carb diet, or else I'd get shaky and cranky. However, after performing intermittent fasting (IF) for a while, I no longer eat breakfast except on rare occasions, such as traveling or after going to church. It took me a while, maybe 3-6 months before I was comfortable not eating breakfast. Now, I use IF all the time. I usually do not eat breakfast. If I eat breakfast, sometimes I won't eat lunch. I usually miss both breakfast and lunch at least twice a week (though this week, after returning from a vacation, I may not), and I try to have a longer fast at least biweekly or weekly. The longer fast could be after Sunday evening's meal then not eating until Tuesday's dinner, for instance. I've been trying to mix things up to keep my body guessing.

    Personally, I feel better not eating breakfast, and that includes on the days I workout.

  7. Louise
    I cannot fast..I have a big tendency toward hypoglycaemia and when I tried, I felt really bad in general and I had headaches and felt feeble...not for me...
  8. chris c
    Conversely many diabetics and prediabetics suffer from rising blood glucose UNTIL they break their fast, as a result of a dump of glucagon. I find a small low carb moderate fat high protein breakfast provides enough insulin to switch this process off, and I don't need to eat again for many hours, but there's a lot of individual variation probably resulting from levels of insulin resistance, I'm much better than I used to was. My high carb breakfasts would cause a glucose spike followed by a rapid drop and massive hunger a couple of hours later, far from uncommon.

    Do NOT try this at home, well not without a mass of glucose within easy reach, but a Type 1 friend's breakfast is a couple of units of fast-acting insulin to stop the glucagon. He often doesn't actually eat until evening.

  9. CRees
    I’ve been fasting 16+ hours daily and eating moderate carbs for the last 2.5 years, lost 40kg and now normal BMI and waist:height ratio <0.5. After reading the research on individual blood glucose responses to foods depending on gut microbiota variations (Zeevi et al, Cell 2015; 163: 1079) I invested in a blood glucose meter. Although fasting BGs are good (around 4.2 mmol/l) I was shocked to find my post meal BG is higher than it should be with the peak delayed. After a pork and veg meal containing carbwise a half cup of cooked brown rice and chickpeas, taken with a glass of wine, and followed by around 3 tbsp stewed apple (ie with a little added sugar) with full fat greek yoghurt, my BG went up to 8.4 mmol/l at 2 hours after eating, and at 3 hours was 5.5. Next morning BG was 4.2 and remained low until lunch. After lunch BGs reach around 7 at 2 hours. My question is: should I be worried about 2 glucose spikes a day or should I be cutting carbs further?
    Reply: #10
  10. chris c
    Check your BG at its peak, which is probably around 1 hour postprandial, and you may have an unpleasant surprise!

    Knocking down these postprandial spikes will also significantly reduce your insulin spikes, which in my case (and not a few others) was leading to significant BG drops at 3 - 4 hours.

    You may be able to get away with the rice OR the chickpeas OR the apple but not all of them.

    Reply: #11
  11. CRees
    Those figures were peaks, 1 hour readings were lower. Hence I mentioned a delayed rise in glucose...maybe due to the high fat content plus veggies compared with eating straight carbs? I think you're right about the combo. So need to cut carbs further or is the breakfast skipping a problem?
  12. Karen
    I'm interested when people say they skip breakfast. When I looked at the origin of the word which simplistically means 'breaking a fast' it would be synonymous with the first meal eaten after sleep (which is our fast for however long, some people choose to extend this fasting period) so if we all eat again the next day we're non of us skipping 'breakfast' .... even if we eat it at 8.00 a.m. or midday or 15.00!! I think we are conditioned in to naming meals and have formed habits over years! I'll go ring my bell now and call me Pavlov!!
  13. Verónica
    Hola! Puedo hacer las 3 comidas de la dieta cetogenica con el ayuno intermitente?
  14. Katherine
    Cordial saludo, quisiera que me ayudaran a aclarar si puedo ayunar todos los días siempre, son en promedio las 16hrs, mejor dicho saltarme el desayuno... me genera duda dado a que de pronto, cree alguna resistencia al ayuno intermitente pues es recomendado 5-10 días, lo que pasa es que estoy acostumbrada a no desayunar... solo café... Muy agradecida con ustedes por esta maravillosa pagina... SON LOS MEJORES, Dios lo bendiga
  15. Donna
    I've just started keto - woman 52 about 40-50lbs to lose. I've lost 5 in my first week and over the last few days I've been eating dinner around 6pm then not eating until lunch around 1pm next day. Not finding it too hard. Not feeling as energized as I'd like but attribute that to all the extra weight I'm carrying as well. Definitely noticing the diminished hunger and trying to really listen to my body and only eat when hungry.
  16. mercemz27
    I am new to the Keto diet, and my plan has 3 meals. I am currently doing 14:10 IF, and having the 3 meals, if I do the 16:8 and skipped breakfast, does it means I have to increase my grams of carbs to get close to 20, or its fine with the amount from the two other meals (lunch.dinner)?
    Reply: #17
  17. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    I am new to the Keto diet, and my plan has 3 meals. I am currently doing 14:10 IF, and having the 3 meals, if I do the 16:8 and skipped breakfast, does it means I have to increase my grams of carbs to get close to 20, or its fine with the amount from the two other meals (lunch.dinner)?

    Carbohydrates are noted as a maximum, not a minimum. Keto at 20 net carbs per day breaks down to 7-10 per meal.

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