Fasting and the Elimination of Breakfast
Breakfast is often referred to as the “most important meal of the day”. But is it? An increasing number of studies suggest otherwise.
Our metabolism may work best when we eat in a 6 to 8-hour window during the later portion of the day. Metabolic mechanisms are turned on that are more efficient at handling nutrients consumed in the day when compared to morning or nighttime consumption.
When thin mice are fed on a time-restricted schedule (Noon to 6 pm), the mice stayed thin, but when fed the same exact same number of calories over a 24-hour period, thin mice became obese. So when we eat may be as important as what we eat.
From an evolutionary perspective, it is believed we often spent much of the first portion of day hunting and gathering our food and often we ate just once in the later portion of the day or evening.
Today many of us can’t go several hours without snacking or are forcing ourselves to have breakfast when we are not hungry. Evidence is accumulating that breakfast is not an essential feature of good health. Skipping breakfast and not eating for 18 hours (from yesterday’s dinner until today’s lunch), has many health benefits. This pattern of eating is referred to as time-restricted feeding (TRF).
Combining TRF with intermittent fasting (eating a total of 500-600 calories per day) creates a healthy stress response that instructs our cells to repair themselves and improving their functionality. The positive stress food restriction has results in an enhanced ability of your cells to cope with stress and reverse disease processes such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Some researchers additionally believe that regular fasting will prevent the changes of Alzheimer’s disease as well as other conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, macular degeneration, chronic kidney disease, heart failure and sleep apnea.
It appears breakfast isn’t as critical as we once believed, and previous breakfast studies were flawed in that researchers did not consider the timing of when people ate dinner the night before or if they ate a nighttime snack.
When all of the meals are considered it seems that the timing of your evening meal or bedtime snack or meal is just as important as whether or not you ate breakfast.
© 2015. Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean R. Nemechek. All Rights Reserved