If you grew up at any point in the twentieth-century, your mother likely repeated an age-old adage, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” For more than a century, adults and children alike were led to believe that eating in the morning was the key to academic and professional success.
New evidence suggests what your mother told you may have been WRONG.
These unsubstantiated claims have by and large been shown to be erroneous. For years lobbyists from cereal and bacon companies tried to push the agenda across America leading to a false belief of breakfast having meal superiority. The line, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” was coined by cereal creator John Kellogg in an attempt to mass sell his products (1).
In recent years people have become aware of the potential health benefits associated with intermittent fasting. What began largely in the fitness community as a method for enhancing weight loss has now been shown to have tremendous health benefits.
Hi, I’m Sean Torbati and I’ve long since preached the physical and mental benefits of intermittent fasting. While it may appear to be a relatively new phenomenon—the origins of fasting have been practiced by cultures around the world for thousands of years. Recently compiled research has shown even more benefits than we previously realized. Fasting can be used as a tool in a number of ways including: improving weight loss, enhancing focus, and increasing overall health and quality of life.
Let’s take a look at how skipping breakfast may actually help you live a longer, fuller life.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Fasting involves abstaining from food consumption for a predefined period of time. Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that involves consuming food only during certain time blocks of the day. Many people commonly choose to do a 16:8 fasting to eating window. An example would be having a first meal at 12:00pm and finishing your last prior to 8:00pm.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet but rather a pattern of eating. You don’t have to adjust caloric intake or even food choice to practice intermittent fasting. However, the time you aren’t consuming food can have profound physical and mental health benefits.
Physical Health Benefits
Simply abstaining from food consumption for 16+ hours per day may have dramatic benefits to your overall health. A new review published by The New England Journal of Medicine now suggests that intermittent fasting can help treat and prevent certain health conditions (2).
Among the many benefits include:
- Reduction of blood pressure
- Improved weight loss
- Improved longevity
In an animal-based study, lengthening times between meals was shown to increase lifespan. Subjects that ate only once per day had longer lifespans and lessened their chances of metabolic disorders. Improvements were shown in overall health, along with a decreased chance of liver damage (3).
Researchers believe daily fasting may repair and enhance maintenance mechanisms that would not be possible with continuous exposure to food. One study found that intermittent caloric restriction in overweight adults improved weight loss and decreased insulin sensitivity (4).
Fasting has also been shown to improve biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress, and even improve learning capabilities (5). While the physical effects of intermittent fasting may be widely known—there are tremendous mental benefits you should also be aware of.
Other Health Benefits
The health benefits of intermittent fasting go far beyond the physical realm. Studies have shown there are several other secondary benefits related to cognition. A 7 week trial performed on mice found that intermittent fasting improved brain function and learning abilities compared to control groups (6).
Other studies have found intermittent fasting protects against age-related cognitive decline while helping to better prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The same study also found that intermittent fasting may prevent both short and long-term memory loss (7). Other research has found that intermittent fasting may have neuroprotective abilities due to reduced oxidative stress and neuroinflammation (8).
In his recent book “Lifespan,” author Dr. David Sinclair praises the benefits of intermittent fasting as a way of slowing aging and age-related diseases. Simply fasting for longer periods of times may help people live longer, healthier, more productive lives.
Why You Need to Skip Breakfast
Intermittent fasting has been shown to be a useful tool for weight loss and improved overall health. If simply skipping breakfast could add productive years to your life—wouldn’t you at least consider giving it a try?
Maybe it’s time we stop relying on age-old myths and start looking at scientifically documented evidence. Put down the bowl of cereal and consider implementing intermittent fasting as part of your daily routine.
As a lifelong advocate of health and fitness—I’m here to guide you on the path towards sustained longevity and well-being. Make healthy choices that will allow you to lead a long and healthy life. Next time you think about waking up to make breakfast, hit that snooze button one more time and enjoy your morning.
If you have any further questions about intermittent fasting, feel free to reach out to me for additional information. I’ve got 2020 vision and I’m here to help guide you on the path towards your healthiest and happiest year yet.
Sean Torbati - PN Certified Nutritionist | EXOS Phase 3 Training Specialist
Co-Founder, Ambrosia Collective