You've heard countless times that 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day', as it is linked to increased concentration, higher levels of productivity and improved mood. Plus, it tastes nice, doesn't it? Food tastes nice.
But if you're still in the bad habit of skipping breakfast in an attempt to lose weight, then it's time to snap out of it. New research from Germany has concluded that missing your morning meal could lead to an increase in dangerous inflammation.
The small piece of research tested a very small sample of 17 healthy adults over the course of three days—one day skipping breakfast, one day eating three regular meals and one day skipping dinner. The calorie content and breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein remained constant, with the remaining two meals making up the difference on 'skip' days.
The participants also had several blood samples taken daily between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. in order to measure hormone levels, glucose and insulin concentrations and immune cell activity. It was found that glucose concentrations and markers of inflammation and insulin resistance were higher after lunch on breakfast-skipping days, and that people also oxidized more fat (meaning that their bodies broke down more of their stored fat reserves).
This might sound like a good thing for people trying to lose weight, but the research team beg to differ. Such a process suggests an impairment in metabolic flexibility—which is the body's ability to switch between burning fat and carbohydrates. This could mean that skipping breakfast "may in the long term lead to low-grade inflammation and impaired glucose homeostasis," which in turn could potentially raise the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Even if you are a committed meal-skipper, breakfast should not be the one that's scrapped. The researchers also concluded that people burned more calories over a 24-hour period when they extended their overnight fast by skipping either lunch (41 more calories) or dinner (91 more calories), compared with the three-meals-a-day or breakfast-skipping schedule.
However, it must be noted that these differences in calories are relatively negligible, and could easily be achieved through minor dietary adjustments. It's also worth considering whether skipping meals is likely to make you snack more throughout the day, as this is the basis on which many experts claim the habit to be unadvisable.
Considering the size of the study, it's clear that more research needs to be done before any concrete conclusions and recommendations can be made. But still - get some toast in you, yeah?
This story originally appeared on NetDoctor.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.