Is Skipping Breakfast Better for Weight Loss?

close up of hands holding cup of coffee in cafe
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You've probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But many smart dieters are skipping breakfast for faster weight loss. It's true. For some people, not eating breakfast is actually a better way to slim down. But this trick doesn't work for everyone. The best breakfast plan for you depends on your food choices, your schedule, and your total meal plan for the day.

The Downside to Skipping Breakfast

Skipping your morning meal might mean that you miss out on some important weight loss benefits. Researchers have found that people who lose weight and keep it off are generally those people who eat a healthy breakfast. Eating breakfast might help you lose weight in a few different ways. 

  • Eating breakfast may improve performance during the morning or early afternoon workouts.

For these reasons, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you divide your total daily food intake into four or five meals or snacks per day including breakfast. They do not, however, take the position that breakfast is necessarily more important than any other meal of the day.

Why Skipping Breakfast Can Boost Weight Loss

Eating breakfast can be good for your diet. But the morning meal doesn't cause weight loss. So for some people, skipping breakfast works better. Skipping breakfast allows you to save your calories for later in the day. For some dieters, this means that they consume fewer calories throughout the day and lose weight faster.

So does skipping breakfast affect your metabolism? Probably not. Some weight loss experts used to say that skipping breakfast can cause your metabolism to slow down. But that myth has been busted. Several studies have shown that skipping breakfast has no effect on the total number of calories you burn throughout the day. 

Is It Better to Skip or Eat Breakfast?

So should you wake up for a morning meal or should you skip breakfast to slim down? The answer depends on your lifestyle and your preferences.

If you skip breakfast and find yourself at the vending machine eating junk food later in the morning, then eating breakfast might be best for you. But if you're trying to cut calories to lose weight and breakfast isn't important to you, then skipping breakfast might work. You may be able to eat a healthy protein-rich snack and stay satisfied until lunch.

Whichever method you choose, it's important to keep your expectations in check. If you eat breakfast to lose weight, then you need to monitor portion sizes and keep your breakfast calorie count in check. And if you skip breakfast to lose weight, you can't overeat at lunch or dinner time to compensate. In the end, it's the total number of calories you consume that matters -not the meal in which they are consumed. 


David J. Clayton, David J. Stensel, Lewis J. James" Effect of breakfast omission on subjective appetite, metabolism, acylated ghrelin and GLP-17-36 during rest and exercise Journal of Nutrition July 11, 2015.

McCrory MA, Campbell WW. " Effects of eating frequency, snacking, and breakfast skipping on energy regulation: symposium overview." Journal of Nutrition, January 14, 2011.

American Dietetic Association. " Position of the American Dietetic Association: Weight Management." February 2009.

Paul M La Bounty, Bill I Campbell, et al. " International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: meal frequency." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition March 16, 2011.

Lecture: Nutrition and Exercise. Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D. November 3, 2012. Woodwinds Medical Center, Woodbury, MN