September 14, 2016

Why You Should Skip Breakfast

Look, I think you should skip breakfast this week.  And more or less forever.

I know, I know. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That is (in my experience) bullshit.

Breakfast can be an important meal but it’s not vital, and its very name gives you a hint of the super healthy process it interrupts.

You see, break-fast is the meal that humans have used in recent times to break the fast they were on while sleeping. Modern marketing nutrition* has tried to teach us that fasting is something to be endured or avoided, but fasting is actually a healthy response to our evolutionary environment and an important behavior. 

Think about it. For over 2 million years (the time period that humans have been around) we humans ate what we could catch, when we could catch it. That means that we regularly went for long periods (from 1-5 days) without eating ANY food!

We evolved to skip breakfast!

We literally evolved to skip breakfast. Now, that’s not what any breakfast food company wants you to believe, but we ain’t here to skirt around the truth. You don’t need breakfast. Ever.

It doesn’t matter if millions of dollars have been spent on marketing to make you believe, needing breakfast to perform well is a myth.

Don't let a million dollar marketing budget make your decisions.

Here’s what happens when you skip out on the most UNimportant meal of the day:

Now, that doesn’t mean you should never eat breakfast, just that breakfast should be viewed as more of a treat and less of a necessity. Go out to breakfast with friends, or for your birthday, or for Christmas, or when you get into a new town. Enjoy the food, the coffee, the atmosphere. Just don’t make a habit of it.

Trust me on this one. I grew up eating MASSIVE breakfasts and believing it was super important. I swam and ran track and cross country and wrestled and played lacrosse and ate breakfast before every damn workout or competition up until I was in my early 30s. I know how important it can feel to have a morning meal in you. 

Breakfast doesn't matter.

I also know that for most of us (the metabolically unbroken ones) it doesn’t really matter what you do in your 20’s, especially if you’re doing a lot of it.You can get away with almost any physical/nutritional regimen you want and it’ll “work”, but the long term results start to appear somewhere around 30 years old.

I started getting serious about becoming healthier and continuing to perform at a high level in my early 30s. 

Once I started to get slower, or injured, or just not recovering the way I used to, I wanted to know why. Like most humans (no, you’re not special), I am hyper-competitive in physical sports, and that drive didn’t stop, even though my body wasn’t cooperating with booze, sugar, and 3 meals a day sessions the way it used to.

I submerged myself in nutritional knowledge along with questioning my lifestyle. I found that fasting (among many other things) was super helpful for me. It doesn’t matter if I’m working out hard in the morning or lazing around all day, skipping breakfast has helped me achieve many of my big goals, from the Leadville 100 to earning a pilot’s license as a paraglider to running a successful company. 

Yes, you should try training fasted. Yes, you should try training hard and then waiting until you’re actually hungry to eat. No, the “critical half hour” (getting nutrition in during the 30 minutes immediately after you’re done working out) doesn’t matter as much as you’ve been told.

Trust me, I’ve done crushing workouts in cold water after not eating for 2 days, and then not eating for another 2 days after the workout and feeling fine. Eating food on a daily basis doesn’t make a big enough difference for amateur athletes to notice.

Amateur athletes should absolutely train fasted.

In fact, if you’re an amateur athlete and more interested in health than performance, you absolutely should be doing fasted workouts and fasted recovery. I know, total heresy according to every protein shake company’s marketing materials and all the breakfast cereal giants along with the millions of supplement providers, and I’m getting a little too high on my soapbox.

They’re wrong, try fasting, see for yourself. Ok, slow your roll Nik. Let me take it back down a notch.

Fasting works, and skipping breakfast is one of the most important baby steps along the fasting path.

You can get way deeper into the fasting world and learn about intermittent fasting, or water fasting, or whatever seems to work for you, but skipping breakfast for a week is a great first step.

Go on, give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

*Modern marketing has also tried to tell us that sugar was better to eat than fat, and you only have to look around to see how unwell that worked out.

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Nik Hawks

Author

Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!


Too much reading...
How about dessert?

Too Much Reading...How About Dessert?

6 Comments

Andrew
Andrew

March 03, 2017

Thanks for the article! A lot of times I don’t feel like breakfast, but have often forced myself to eat. I’m tempting to cut it out completely. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve read a couple websites saying Vikings probably didn’t eat breakfast, and the Roman military would only eat one meal a day.

Dorothy Ainsworth
Dorothy Ainsworth

March 02, 2017

Great article! I’m never hungry in the morning and now I know why. If I DO eat, I get groggy. The best times to snack on nuts and other nutritious tidbits are throughout the day when we DO feel hunger coming on, and not waiting until we’re starving (low blood sugar) which causes overeating. It’s all about balance. We all need to get tuned in to ourselves and our own body wisdom, but beware of a sugar craving. That’s an addiction. Thanks for this info.
Dorothy

Marie
Marie

February 28, 2017

I have been working on listening to my body and only eating when hungry and it has done wonders for my blood sugar. It’s not true fasting but it is teaching me to be mindful and not to follow some preconceived notion of when I should or should not eat.

Nik@PT
Nik@PT

September 15, 2016

Hi Bernadette,
Hmm, not sure what you mean about “Paleo” grains; Paleo is generally thought to be a grain free diet. We don’t carry any grain products, sorry. Our driving intent is to make desserts that are totally Paleo and super delicious. By the way, there’s more sugar in an apple than in one of our Paleo Treats. :)

Bernadette
Bernadette

September 15, 2016

Years past I would fast for 14 days on a regiment of distilled water, beet greens juice then finally fresh hot vegetable broth. Loved the feeling while going thru it and after. I recently returned from Australia where I feasted on some Paleo grains and organic yogurt. It was so delicious but I did not think to get the name of the brand. Do you carry grains with seeds as well. I am eliminating most sugar products from my eating profile so while the cookies look good, I prefer not to indulge. Let me know what products your provide.
Thank you, Bernadette

Lisa
Lisa

September 15, 2016

I agree! I have been fasting on and off for 3 years. I have been pregnant 2 times in 4 years. I am now 9 months post partum and nursing and feel that not eating till 1 everyday is changing my body. I am now 5 pounds lighter than when I got pregnant. I make better food choices and if I do have breakfast it is only green juice. Fasting is so important for the body!

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