10 Harmful Effects Of Skipping Breakfast 

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is all you need to stay active throughout.

Reviewed by Ritika Dass, MSc (Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics)
By Tanya Choudhary

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for good reason. You are breaking the fast your body went through the night and fuelling it with essential nutrients to get your day started. While some enjoy a hearty breakfast in the morning, some may skip their breakfast due to waking up late or having no time to rush to work. In this article, we explore 10 effects of skipping breakfast and why it does more harm than good. Keeping reading to know more.

Effects Of Skipping Breakfast

This post talks about what are some skipping breakfast effects.

1. Bad For Your Heart

Woman holding her chest due to poor breakfast diet

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According to a study published in JAMA, men who skip breakfast have about 27% more chances of sustaining a heart attack when compared to those who eat breakfast. Dr. Leah Cahill, who led the research, tells that the rate of risk is not so worrisome. But she also supports the fact that indulging in a healthy breakfast could actually curb the risk of heart attacks. (1)

People who avoid breakfast are also known to have an increased susceptibility to hypertension in turn, leading to clogging of arteries. This, on the other hand, puts them at an increased risk of developing chronic cardiovascular health conditions, including stroke.

2. Higher Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes

Harvard University School of Public Health conducted a study that aimed to find a correlation between eating habits and health. 46,289 women participated in the research conducted for about six years. The results of the study were amazing. According to the outcome, women who had the habit of avoiding breakfast were at a higher risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, than women who had their daily breakfast.

Skipping breakfast may affect the genes involved in the circadian clock and metabolism and leads to elevating postprandial sugars. However, quality research is warranted in this regard.

Even worse, working women who skipped their morning meals had 54% more chances of developing Type 2 diabetes [2]

3. Skipping Breakfast Might Cause Weight Gain

If you are on a weight loss regimen and have the habit of skipping breakfast, give it a second thought now. According to the studies conducted on the negative impacts of not eating breakfast, people who miss the morning meal had higher chances of gaining weight, quite contrary to your slimming goal. Are you confused? Just read on.

Those who skip breakfast tend to consume more calories, saturated fat, and simple sugars during lunch and dinner.

Skipping breakfast peps up the craving for sugary and fatty foods. Plus, since your hunger pangs will quite be intense, you end up gorging down whatever you come across during the day. The higher your hunger levels are, the more the quantity of food intake will be. And, this at times exceeds your recommended daily calorie intake. A constant practice of skipping breakfast will finally lead to weight gain and not weight loss [3]

4. Negative Impact On Mood And Energy Levels

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According to a study that appeared in a journal called Physiological Behavior in 1999, avoiding breakfast can have negative impacts on energy and mood. The British research team did a study on 144 healthy people who underwent overnight fasting. The group was divided into three. One group was given a healthy, moderate breakfast, second group only coffee, and the third group was not given breakfast. The groups were then monitored for a couple of hours. According to the study, the group who were not given breakfast showcased the poorest memory skills and highest fatigue levels. There was no significant difference between the other two groups.

The baseline: Avoiding breakfast could swish down your energy levels and negatively impact your memory. [4]

5. Risk Of Cancer

Skipping breakfast can make you overindulge in food during the day time. This in turn paves the way for the increased prevalence of obesity. [5] According to research that was conducted by Cancer Research UK, it was found out that a person who is overweight or obese has an increased risk of developing cancer [6]

6. Affects Cognitive Functioning

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Including breakfast in your daily diet regimen bestows you with better cognitive functioning. A study was conducted on a group of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15 in two trials. In one of the trials, the group was allowed to have breakfast, and in the second trial, the group was asked to refrain from the morning meal. The results were interesting. The group, when on a breakfast regimen, showcased better accuracy in a visual search test, while lack of breakfast hampered with the results.

The finding: Inclusion of breakfast gives the cognitive function a boost [7] While the study was conducted on adolescents, it can easily be extended to adults too.

7. Could Cause Migraines

Hypoglycemia is the medical term used to indicate low levels of blood sugar. Skipping meals trigger a massive dip in sugar levels, in turn, triggering the release of hormones that could compensate for the low glucose levels. on the other hand, increases blood pressure levels, triggering migraines and headaches. [8]

The incidence is higher when you skip breakfast, as it is the first meal of the day you are consuming after nearly 12 hours of fasting. So, if you want to keep those headaches away, do ensure that you eat your breakfast.

8. Triggers Hair Loss

Shocked woman looking at her hair loss

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One of the major side effects of skipping breakfast results is hair loss. Yes, a meal that contains dangerously low levels of protein could affect the levels of keratin, averting hair growth and triggering hair loss. Breakfast is the quintessential meal of any day and has a major role in promoting the growth of hair follicles. [9] So, if you wish to enjoy lush, strong hair with zero hair fall, then you ought to indulge in a protein-rich breakfast daily.

9. Could Affect Your Metabolism

Will your car ever start if there is no fuel? No, right? Similarly, you need breakfast to give your metabolism a jump start. It is the first meal of the day you are feeding your body with, after its rest for about 12 hours. According to various studies conducted on the importance of breakfast, people who eat this meal have a higher level of resting metabolism. [10]

10. Worsens Hangover

Woman going through a bad hangover

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It is perfectly fine if you overdid on your alcohol consumption the previous night. You can use a nourishing breakfast to ward off your hangover. A healthy breakfast rich in iron, folate, and other minerals and vitamins will help your body to compensate for the lost nutrients. It will also kick up your energy levels [11].

Just remember this – skipping breakfast could worsen the hangover by bringing down the sugar levels [12], inviting headaches and nausea. So, just have a healthy breakfast to overcome your hangover.

Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. However, not many take it seriously, and studies suggest that the effects of skipping breakfast can be serious. For example, those who skip breakfast were found to be at a greater risk of heart attack, type-2 diabetes, weight gain, cancer, cognitive decline, migraine, hair loss, and metabolic issues. It may also lead to low energy levels and mood changes, which may impact your activities during the rest of the day. So, have a breakfast that is as nutrient-dense as possible to fuel your body and stay active.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does skipping breakfast cause brain damage?

Yes. Skipping or the intake of low-quality breakfast may negatively impact cognitive function, resulting in slow response (13). It may also lead to brain damage. However, limited data is available to prove this claim.

Do I really need breakfast?

Yes. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It can help boost your metabolism. It also keeps you more focused and alert.

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author
Tanya is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She specializes in writing articles on ingredients that benefit skin,... more

Ritika Dass

(PGDDPHN )
Ritika Dass is a senior clinical nutritionist with more than 8 years of experience in analyzing the nutritional needs of... more

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