Do you rush out the door in the morning, stopping only to grab a cuppa at your favorite coffee shop? If so, your routine could do your body some serious damage. Skipping breakfast leads to a host of negative health effects. What are the bodily consequences of not eating breakfast?
From a need to buy bigger pants to landing in the ER with a heart attack, skipping your morning meal can seriously cramp your mojo. If the following 10 consequences don’t have you prepping meals this Sunday, I’ll eat my tofu scramble.
1. Your Blood Sugar Yo-Yos
When you eat, your body breaks down the food you eat into glucose and essential nutrients. Without a ready supply of glucose, you’re running on empty. Literally.
While exercising on an empty stomach can spur your body to burn more fat, operating all morning without fuel can cause one particularly nasty consequence of not eating breakfast. Over time, your body loses the ability to break down food into glucose efficiently. This can lead to weight gain and even insulin resistance.
2. Weight Gain
One of the most immediate consequences of not eating breakfast is gaining weight. “But wait,” you might think, “Doesn’t consuming fewer calories overall mean I’ll lose weight?”
The truth is, when you skip breakfast, the chances of bingeing later in the day grow exponentially. You know not to grocery shop when you’re hungry. But you do essentially the same thing daily when you jet off to an office surrounded by fast-food joints and a growling stomach tiger within. Eating a healthy breakfast helps you fight the urge to overindulge.
3. You’re More Likely to Get Diabetes
If you skip breakfast regularly, you increase your risk of developing type II diabetes by 20 percent. When you pass on fueling your body in the morning, your body produces more insulin in an attempt to break food down when you do eat.
This can cause insulin resistance, a condition in which your body no longer responds to the hormone properly. In this condition, glucose levels rise precipitously, leading to diabetes.
4. You Get Achy and Tired
Eating a breakfast high in fiber and protein fuels your body for your morning. Women who typically skip breakfast in lieu of coffee or cola often develop fatigue and body aches.
To ease muscular aches and headaches, start your day with a blend of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. You could enjoy an egg on a piece of quinoa or rye toast, or gobble a protein smoothie with fruit and granola.
5. Difficulty Concentrating
Your brain uses 20 percent of your body’s total energy, and when you start the day with an empty stomach, focusing grows difficult. You need to feed your brain calories if you want it to work at its productive best.
If you’re sitting at your desk with your stomach growling, try eating a handful of trail mix or a stick of string cheese. Chances are good that once you snack, you’ll find concentrating easier.
6. Pernicious Anemia
Pernicious anemia refers to a lack of vitamin B12. Like iron-deficiency anemia, it causes extreme fatigue. Your body needs adequate levels of B-vitamins for memory and concentration and to aid in digestion. However, your body can’t produce B12 and many other B-vitamins on its own, meaning you must get these from dietary sources.
Since B12 comes from animal products, you’ll need to take a supplement if you follow a vegan lifestyle. Ask your physician about cruelty-free supplements or injections to try.
7. Menstrual Irregularities
Skipping breakfast impacts the function of the pituitary gland, which is the master gland that governs hormonal function. One recent study revealed that teen girls who skip breakfast regularly experience more irregular menstrual periods. They also experience significantly greater discomfort with their monthly flow.
Certain healthy fats ease menstrual symptoms if used at the right time. A few days before your period, eat breakfasts containing avocados or nuts and seeds. Both contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can ease menstrual discomfort when used prior to the start of your flow.
8. You Increase Your Heart Disease Risk
One study of over 6,500 adults found skipping breakfast increases your risk of developing heart disease by a staggering 87 percent. If that’s not a good reason to hit snooze one less time, wake up and grab a meal, I don’t know what qualifies!
While the study’s authors point out that additional lifestyle factors such as sedentary behavior and tobacco use may increase risks, why take the chance? Prep healthy parfaits on the weekend to grab on your way out the door during the week. Your heart will thank you.
9. You Could Develop an Inflammatory Disease
Skipping breakfast impacts glucose metabolism, which could increase your risk of developing chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. One recent study indicated those who skip breakfast manifest higher levels of inflammatory substances in their bloodstreams.
If you suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and usually experience a worsening of your symptoms after eating lunch, see if feeding your body in the morning reduces these effects.
10. Bad Breath
When you skip breakfast, your mouth produces less saliva. Lower saliva levels allow bacteria to proliferate in your mouth, giving you serious dragon breath. If your coworkers keep their distance each morning, now you know why.
Plus, going without food negatively impacts your mood. It can even give you a case of the “hangries.” Few people want to hang out with Mrs. Grumpy Gills, so grab a snack (just not a sugary candy bar). You’ll cheer up and everyone around you will notice.
Avoid the Consequences of Not Eating Breakfast
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid the consequences of not eating breakfast. Simply ready some healthy morning foods in advance and watch your health improve!