Why eating breakfast actually helps you lose weight (Plus 3 ways to make it a habit)

Evidence has expanded on why eating breakfast is the most important meal of the day and here is why it can help you slim down

Women eats breakfast out of a cereal bowl and looks happy
(Image credit: Getty)

Whether you’re a morning person or not, eating breakfast can be an effective way to set up a healthy day. Not only does it give you more energy in the morning, but science has found people who skip breakfast are likely to consume more calories throughout the day and fail to meet the recommended daily intake of nutrients.

You might think sipping on a large cup of coffee every morning is enough to get you out the door, but actually consuming a substantial breakfast can be more beneficial, even if it is in the form of a smoothie (give it a go and blend your drink up with one of the best protein powder for weight loss entries). The benefits of eating breakfast is backed up by a study, which found that brekkie could be an effective way to help you lose weight. 

The study, published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society looked at the daily diets of around 31,000 US adults. Analysing data showing what and when the participants ate throughout the day, they discovered that the 15% of adults who skipped breakfast consumed a much greater amount of calories, carbohydrates, saturated fat, and added sugars than those who did eat breakfast. Eating a balanced breakfast, on the other hand, increases satiety levels throughout the day, helping with portion control and, by extension, weight loss. Although it may feel like you’re eating more, you’ll actually snack less.

The findings also revealed that the adults not eating breakfast were less likely to consume essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, folate, vitamins A, B-complex, C, and D. Even though it’s important to get as many micronutrients as possible in with whole foods, you can supplement your vitamin intake with multivitamins. If you’re an older adult, our best vitamins for women over 50 guide is there for a comprehensive overview.

Rosie Millen, a nutritionist from live bacteria brand, Bio-Kult, explains why having breakfast is so important. She says, “If we skip breakfast, we are more likely to consume more calories because we have disrupted our blood sugar levels,” Rosie adds, “If we skip meals, our blood sugar levels drop and the longer we go without food the more our bodies will think we are going into starvation mode.”


(Image credit: Ismael Trevino/Unsplash)

When we experience a drop in blood sugar levels, Rosie says this also tells your adrenal glands to mount a stress response which involves the release of cortisol and this is more likely to make us reach for something sugary to handle the stress signal. This makes sense as to why skipping breakfast can have such an impacting effect on your efforts to lose weight.

However, Rosie was also happy to share three tips on how you can make eating breakfast a better habit in your day. 

1) If you struggle to eat breakfast in the morning Rosie suggests  starting with something light and small. Her own recommendations are a protein shake (try the best protein powder for weight loss if you are calorie conscious), a handful of nuts,  an apple with a little nut butter or even a hardboiled egg. Our Best Blenders buying guide is a great place to start here.

2) You can always try getting up 15 - 30 mins earlier to give yourself some time to build up on hunger. She notes, “Also remember that you don’t have to eat your breakfast all in one go. You can have small bites of it over an hour or so until your usual hunger kicks in.”

3) Lastly, Rosie advises supplementing with a probiotic if you can’t stomach any food in the morning due to digestive complaints such as poor digestion or blocked bowels. This supplement also offers Vitamins B6 and B12, which helps with fatigue as well as aiding digestion

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.