Is skipping breakfast bad for your health? Science weighs in

It's hard to find time for this early morning meal, but here's how skipping breakfast affects our bodies

Granola breakfast meal
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although food is readily available at all hours, we still structure our days around three substantial meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is where we get most of our energy and essential nutrients.

Even if we plan our meals, it can still be a challenge to get everything we need. That's why many people add the best fish oil supplements into their diet to top up their levels of Omega-3.

Despite their importance, it's not always easy to schedule three meals into your day. If you regularly skip breakfast to save time, researchers have found you may also be increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. 

The meta-analysis, a review of previous research published in The Journal of Nutrition, assessed six studies with a total of 96,175 participants. 

After looking through the data, the team saw that skipping breakfast four to fives times a week was associated with a substantial 55% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Diabetes is a growing problem and has fast become one of the most pressing medical issues worldwide. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, 537 million adults currently live with diabetes.

Person eating oatmeal for breakfast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The group estimates that this will rise by 250 million in just over two decades, totaling 784 million people worldwide. This is why researchers are urgently searching for interventions and treatments.

Skipping breakfast doesn't just impact your risk of diabetes, though. One study found a link between eating breakfast and increased physical activity throughout the day. 

Conversely, those who went without food first thing were more likely to have 'dietary compensation' and increase their energy intake throughout the day. 

So, not only could skipping breakfast lead to weight gain, making time for it may help you drop pounds in the long run. With more energy, you might also add the best exercises for weight loss into your routine. 

Early morning meals are an essential part of your daily nutrition. Researchers found that meals including grains, cereals, and whole fruit juice had increased nutrient levels compared to skippers. 

Fortunately, it's easy to find healthy breakfast foods, and you can even prepare most of them in advance. This is particularly useful if you're tight on time first thing in the morning. 

As there are few raw ingredients in these meal ideas, many of them are suitable for vegans too. If you're after some inspiration for more plant-based fuel, pick up one of the best vegan cookbooks as well.   

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.