Intermittent fasting: good or bad for those who skip breakfast?
We all grew up hearing the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and that still holds true today. According to nutritionists and health experts, breakfast helps break overnight fasts and supplies the body with essential nutrients to continue functioning. But over the years, as new dietary patterns like intermittent fasting have come to the fore, the universal idea of breakfast has been challenged. Today, intermittent fasting (IF) is far from a passing trend, with more and more people embracing it for good health. According to nutrition consultant Rupali Datta, “Intermittent fasting is not a fad diet; it’s eating in a limited amount of time that helps achieve good metabolic results. And since 2016, there have been a good number of clinical studies to prove the benefits”.
The goal of intermittent fasting is to limit the eating hours in a day to create a pattern that alternates between eating and fasting cycles. Rupali Datta further explains that when the dietary regimen is planned properly, “there is no chance of having nutritional deficiency in the body”. What IF does is simply extend your overnight fasting window for a longer duration, which automatically causes you to skip your morning meal. Now this begs the question: is it okay to skip a meal in the morning? Let’s find out.
Read also: Can Intermittent Fasting Help Reverse Diabetes? New research reveals
Is skipping breakfast bad for you?
As mentioned earlier, breakfast helps replenish lost energy and nutrients and helps you start your day. But did you know that it has nothing to do with your metabolic process? Your metabolism depends a lot on what you eat throughout the day, not just one meal. A study, published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, found no difference in 24-hour calories burned between people who eat and skip breakfast. In fact, research in the British Journal of Nutrition even showed that skipping breakfast can reduce your overall calorie intake by up to 400 calories a day.
But that doesn’t mean you eat too much at your next meal to make up for breakfast. Health experts say it’s important to maintain a balance between your meals and meal times to achieve an effective result, which means breakfast or any other meal alone won’t help you achieve your desired health goals.
Is it better for those who skip breakfast to do intermittent fasting?
Ideally, to keep your metabolism running smoothly, you should eat nutritious food every few hours, which is why eating after an overnight fast is considered important. But you can always compensate with an alternative approach to intermittent fasting. There are several methods for this diet, the most popular and practical being the 16:8 hour window. Here, the goal is: fast for 16 hours and eat only in the eight hours in between. For example, if you start your diet at 11am, you must have your last meal by 7pm and then fast until the next morning. In this eight-hour window, try to consume enough healthy food in smaller portions. Rupali Datta says, “Try to have at least four meals in your eight-hour window.”
In summary, people who tend to skip breakfast can easily opt for a healthy diet with intermittent fasting, but of course under the supervision of experts.
Read also: Eat breakfast the right way! 6 mistakes you need to stop making right now
Can you eat breakfast during intermittent fasting?
This is probably the most common question asked before embracing IF. Let’s start by understanding what breakfast is. To put it simply, it’s breaking your fast, which is your first meal of the day. Now, if you plug the idea of breakfast into the intermittent fasting model, you can always count your first meal in the meal window as breakfast. But in this case, you need to keep an eye on the nutrients you add to your plate. We will show you some healthy and effective tips that you could follow by skipping the morning meal and opting for intermittent fasting.
6 effective tips for breakfast skippers to make intermittent fasting a sustainable option:
1. Consider Your First Meal As Breakfast:
This means that your first meal should be healthy with adequate amounts of nutrients. Avoid adding calorie or carbohydrate-rich foods into your first meal to avoid a sudden spike in blood sugar levels.
2. Include Protein And Fiber:
Just like your regular breakfast, try to eat a balanced diet in the IF regimen as well. You should always opt for nutrient-dense foods to ensure the balance of macro and micro nutrients in your body. This would provide you with the energy to stay active throughout the day.
3. Follow a practical fasting window:
IF is a program that can be followed in several ways: 5:2 fast (where you eat normal meals for five days and cut calories for the next two days), 16:8 fast (where you fast for 16 hours and eating in an eight-hour window) and the 2:10 pm fast (where you fast for 14 hours and eat in a 10-hour window). You need to decide what works best for you and your lifestyle to get the most out of the regimen. If you ask us, we prefer the 4:8 pm window as it almost matches the conventional meal clock. This also helps us start the day early, reducing the hours of fasting in the morning.
4. Keep yourself hydrated:
The importance of drinking enough water needs no separate introduction. But it becomes even more important to stay hydrated while fasting. Drink plenty of water and other fluids to maintain your body’s water balance and smooth functioning, while reducing premature hunger pangs.
5. Focus On Mindful Eating:
While the popular idea is that you can eat anything you want in that 8-10 hour eating window, we suggest choosing your meals wisely. Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible and focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken and fish. This will help you stay full for longer, preventing overeating or premature hunger pangs.
6. Plan Your Meals Ahead:
This is the most effective way to start your eating window with something healthy. Planning what to eat and preparing for the same helps you make healthier food choices and also prevents impulsive snacking.
Read also: Does the intermittent fasting diet help you stay fit? 5 global stars who follow the diet
Here are 5 breakfast ideas for intermittent fasters:
Considering the above factors, we have curated a list of some healthy food options that you can consider as the first meal of your day and to break the fast. We accompany you.
1. Boiled Egg Salad:
Eggs are high in protein, while vegetables provide enough fiber for your meal – together, the dish will be a perfect option to fill you up with nutrients. Moreover, the recipe is also quick and easy. All you have to do is mix hard-boiled eggs with tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, coarse salt and a few other ingredients and relish. Click here for the recipe.
2. Almond Poha:
We all know by now how healthy and wholesome poha is. Made of chiwda, vegetables and some basic spices, poha is a perfect morning meal. Including some almonds in the recipe will help add some extra protein and fiber into your diet. Click here for the recipe.
3. Oatmeal Cheela:
Oats are a preeminent source of soluble fiber and are also low in calories which helps keep the unusual spikes in cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check, further promoting our overall health. We bring a desi cheela recipe that you can make with humble oats. Click here for the recipe.
Dosa itself is considered a super healthy food to add to your diet. Substituting adding some ragi flour only elevates the goodness. Known to be a superfood, ragi helps make the dosa nutrient-rich and perfect for aiding metabolism and keeping weight and blood sugar levels in check. Click here for the recipe.
5. Multi Grain Idli:
Another popular breakfast option, this idli is made with the goodness of ragi, bajra, jowar, atta and urad dal, making it an energy-packed option to start your day with. It will also help you stay full for longer, preventing premature hunger pangs. Click here for the recipe.
Now that you know all about intermittent fasting and its effects on breakfast skippers, let’s say, consider the first meal in your eating window to be a breakfast, and give it a healthy and wise start with satisfying and nutritious meals. But also remember that like all other diet regimens, IF also has some side effects if not done correctly. Therefore, it is always recommended to consult an expert and understand your tolerance before tackling it. Eat healthy, stay wise!
Disclaimer: This content, including advice, provides general information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical advice. Always consult a specialist or your doctor for further information. NDTV assumes no responsibility for this information.
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