Does Skipping Breakfast Cause Diabetes and Weight Gain?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

We've all heard the familiar saying, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" And there are a lot of recommendations out there saying that if you want to lose weight, you must eat breakfast. But is any of this really true? Is there a link between eating breakfast and weight loss? And can skipping breakfast cause diabetes?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there surrounding the importance of breakfast. I'm here to tell you that much of it is myth. It is perfectly okay to skip breakfast if you want to. It won't cause you to get diabetes, and it won't cause you to gain weight.

In this article, I'll explain:


The problems with the research

There have been quite a few studies published on the link between breakfast, diabetes, and weight gain.

Unfortunately, the actual data from these studies can quickly become manipulated so that what we hear about in the news may not actually be the truth. The reported results from the studies themselves can be skewed. And then the media rolls in and makes generalizations.

Within just a matter of time, news headlines lead us all to believe that what is being spread are cold-hard facts. We end up reading statements like "Skipping Breakfast Causes Diabetes." But is that really the truth?

Let's see what happens when we actually look at the research behind the headlines.

A young woman inspects an orange research paper with a magnifying glass | skipping breakfast and weight gain

For example, when we take a closer look at one of the major systematic review studies done on this subject, we can see that there are many problems with how the research was done, how the data was interpreted, and how the results were shared.

Here are some of the issues:

  • There is no proof of cause and effect, only an association.

    The results of the study only suggest an association (a connection) between skipping breakfast and diabetes or weight gain. They provide no evidence that one causes the other. Association does not equal causation. But news headlines will lead you to believe otherwise.

  • Most of the studies that do show an association are funded by the food industry.

    Who wants us to believe that we need to fill up our cereal bowls every morning or pile our plates full of bacon and eggs? The food industry. One of the major issues with the research surrounding this subject is conflict of interest. It is hard to trust studies that are being paid for by people who would benefit from certain results.

  • Studies that show no association are left out.

    Omitting information that doesn't support your case leads to publication bias and real issues when it comes to interpreting results.

  • Definitions of skipping breakfast vary widely between studies.

    This makes it hard to keep things standard and have reliable data.

  • The studies don't take into account what people are eating,

    only whether or not they eat breakfast. You can’t accurately determine that skipping breakfast is associated with weight gain or diabetes without adding data on what is being eaten. Shouldn't it be essential to look at the actual diet?

As you can see, there are many major holes and gaps in this kind of research. There are many factors that could largely impact the results that aren't even considered.

It is important to understand that it is very easy to manipulate data and to camouflage the results as fact. A report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discusses just that issue as it relates to the proposed link between breakfast, weight, and diabetes. It explains that things like a "biased interpretation of results" and "improper use of causal language in describing results" can distort scientific evidence.

Learn more about the problem with research studies in my video here.


Skipping breakfast can help improve diabetes

So, does skipping breakfast really cause diabetes? There is no logic to this claim, and no strong evidence to support it. In fact, if you don't consume calories in the morning, you can actually improve diabetes instead of making it worse.

You see, diabetes is a disease that is impacted by what you eat. Diabetes is caused by too much sugar in the blood and Fat Storing Hormone not being able to keep up with the demand to lower it. It has to do with two things:

  1. How many carbohydrates and sugary foods you are consuming.
  2. The fact that eating in general spikes Fat Storing Hormone.

When you eat any calories at all, especially carbohydrates, you raise blood sugar levels. Eating frequently makes diabetes worse.

Fasting and limiting calorie intake to shorter eating windows, on the other hand, lowers glucose and Fat Storing Hormone levels. This makes it really helpful in reducing diabetes.

So if you can fast all night and continue that fasting into the morning by skipping breakfast? This can only help improve diabetes, as it will help to keep your Fat Storing Hormone levels down.


Skipping breakfast leads to weight loss, not gain

Some people say that if you skip breakfast and don't eat any calories early on, it will slow your metabolism down and you'll become overweight. But in fact, the opposite is true. This can actually lead to weight loss.

When we fast, our metabolism is actually increased because we stay in fat burning mode. The goal with weight loss is to be burning fat as much as possible. So when you skip eating breakfast? You essentially allow your body to eat your own fat for breakfast instead of a morning meal full of calories. This will help you shed weight.

Not eating breakfast is a great weight loss tool. Learn more about intermittent fasting, eating only two meals a day, and how this can help with your metabolism and weight loss goals here.

A breakfast meal of fried eggs on a plate with silverware next to a cup of coffee.

Is breakfast right for you?

Whether or not you consume breakfast is not really a major issue. But if you do choose to skip breakfast, rest assured it won't cause you to get diabetes and won't cause you to stop losing weight. If you do intermittent fasting and delay your first meal until later in the day, you will probably see some real positive benefit when it comes to Fat Storing Hormone resistance and weight loss.

To review:

  • Data from the studies on this subject are largely manipulated and misinterpreted. They lead us to believe myths that are simply not supported by science.
  • Skipping your morning meal will not cause diabetes. It can actually help with Fat Storing Hormone function.
  • When it comes to weight, it's okay to not eat breakfast. Fasting in the morning can, in fact, help with weight loss.

So when you are determining whether or not you should eat breakfast, it really comes down to one simple question:

Are you hungry or not?

If you are hungry in the morning, then eat breakfast. If you aren't? Then skip it.

If you are going to eat breakfast, make sure that you choose healthy breakfast recipes that are keto friendly and full of nutritious calories. And if you are a breakfast skipper, you can condense your daily calorie intake into a healthy lunch and dinner. Just be sure not to overeat in an unhealthy way later on to compensate for the missed meal.

Are you a breakfast person or a breakfast skipper? Does not eating breakfast impact your weight? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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