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Should You Be Skipping Breakfast Everday?

Sometimes you can stumble onto a key learning by accident, and that has been my experience the past week with the notion of meal/nutrient timing.

One of my goals over the next few months is to (constructively) shed a few pounds and that led me to question the effectiveness of the amount of meals I was eating everyday.  Eating anywhere from 5-7 meals each day (depending on hunger) meant my body was almost constantly breaking down food and would usually not have much opportunity to feed off of stored body fats.

I've written on the benefits of Intermittent Fasting (IF) previously, and still believe in its benefits with a targeted approach to fit within your schedule (both work/life schedule and training schedule).

After consulting with a few friends and one of my coaches at CrossFit Dilworth - I was led to a strategy that both combines the benefits of IF, as well as something called "Carb Backloading".

The simplest explanation of Carb Backloading (CBL) is that you save your carbohydrate meals for the end of the day, usually post-intense resistence training workout in an ideal scenario.  To optimize this sort of approach, Intermittent Fasting would also be employed, anywhere from two to four hours after waking.  Using IF first thing in the morning has benefits, minimizing the fat-storing effects that early morning cortisol has on your body. Conversely, eating a large meal (particularly one with sufficient "breakfast carbs") upon waking halts the fat burning enzymes present in the body in morning hours and primes the body to store fat soon thereafter.

I certainly don't expect anyone to take my word alone on a controversial topic like this one, so please begin with this article as you work to develop an opinion.

Common opinion has always been that one needs a "hearty breakfast" to "jumpstart your metabolism".  This has been my experience as well - however articles such as the one above (including the scientific data behind it) has caused me to rethink things.  Many people can't spend their days within 50 feet of a kitchen to eat every 2-3 hours.  IF and/or CBL gives people with busy schedules a certain degree of freedom from constant meal prep and eating throughout the schedule.

It is important to note that skipping breakfast does not mean going without the caloric allotment or macronutrients that would have been included in that meal.  When done correctly, IF/CBL mean that lunch and dinner will be sufficient enough to cover the calories and nutrients that would have previously been ingested at breakfast.

Old habits and lines of thinking die hard, so I would encourage anyone with doubts or fears to simply do what I did, and consume the research, articles, and testimonials with an open mind.  Even if still not converted, it's good to learn a little more about the nuances of the human body, particularly the interplay between fat burning harmones vs fat storage harmones, and how times of day affect both harmones.  It is never a bad thing to have a more strategic approach behind the foods we put into our bodies.

To get you started, I've included a few other write-ups here, here, here, and here.