Skipping breakfast is a very common practice within eating strategies such as intermittent fasting. The easiest way to do this is to either skip dinner, or skip breakfast, or both if you want to fast for a longer duration. However, this tool it is not always intended to reduce the total caloric or nutritional value of the day, otherwise compress the window of food consumption in less hours.
This last aspect is very important, and is often overlooked by the vast majority of the population, as a study by Christopher Taylor and his colleagues at the Ohio State University School of Medicine has just confirmed: skip breakfast something that alone does not cause ‘weakness’ or ‘fainting’ as is often believed, would imply losing nutrients that they would not recover throughout the day.
At least that would suggest analyzing data from more than 30,000 American adults, the results of which were recently published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. And it is that, according to Taylor and his colleagues, the mere fact of Skipping breakfast would significantly reduce your intake of calcium, vitamin C, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals that can be found in fortified cereals: the general population does not consume ideal breakfasts, but typical breakfasts do have the necessary micronutrients.
And things would get complicated throughout the day: If these nutrients are not consumed at breakfast, there is a tendency not to consume them throughout the day either, since they are micronutrients found in foods that the population tends to associate with breakfast and not with other meals. In the end, as Taylor explains, there is a nutritional gap important.
According to current United States Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines, micronutrients such as calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamin D They are considered “dietary components of public health importance” in the U.S; without forgetting the supplementation with iron in the case of pregnant women, as the shortage of the latter has been associated with health problems during the pregnancy period.
As Taylor well remembers, most previous studies on breakfast have been linked to the omission of this meal in children and adolescents, and in the possible problems of concentration and behavior secondary to skipping said meal. But in adults it is not such a well-studied subject.
So, and thanks to data from 30,889 adults aged 19 and over Participating in the United States National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) between 2005 and 2016, Ohio researchers were able to analyze 24-hour dietary data that participants contributed as part of the survey. In total, 15.2% (4,924 participants) of the sample reported skipping breakfast.
The researchers translated food data into nutrient estimates and MyPlate equivalents using the federal food and nutrient database for dietary studies and daily dietary guidelines, and compared those estimates to the nutrient intakes recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the United States National Academies.
According to several measured recommendations, including micronutrients such as fiber, magnesium, copper or zinc, it was identified that those who did not eat breakfast ingested fewer vitamins and minerals than those who did eat breakfast. Likewise, the differences were even more pronounced in the cases of folic acid, calcium, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and D.
Lower quality general diet
On the other hand, and using the healthy eating index of 2015, the participants who did not eat breakfast also had a lower quality overall diet, compared to those who did eat breakfast.
An example was added sugars: participants who skipped breakfast tended to eat more added sugar, carbohydrates, and total fat during the rest of the day, something that was due in part to the snacks they made during the rest of the day.
For his part, although it is true that those who did eat breakfast consumed more total calories throughout the day, those who skipped breakfast increased their intake during lunch, dinner and daily snacks, leading to a diet of poorer quality although with a lower total caloric density.
Finally, the same researchers are aware of the limitations of your study: only the population of the United States was studied, through surveys and not through a controlled clinical trial. Furthermore, only 24 hours of each participant’s life were studied, and not full weeks or months as such.
Still, given the size of the sample studied, with more than 30,000 participants over several years, the researchers suggest that this is a representative snapshot of a typical day in the North American country. But, as always, further research will be necessary.