Do You Need To Eat Breakfast?

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published May. 26, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM UTC

A recent study says maybe not if your goal is to lose weight.

Written by: Erin Beresini

If you’re trying to lose weight, the answer is maybe not, according to a study published in January in Nutrition Journal and popularized by the New York Times.

The study concludes that “reduced breakfast energy intake is associated with lower total daily intake.” Therefore overweight people should consider reducing breakfast calories “as a simple option to improve their daily energy balance.”

But what about endurance athletes looking to drop a few pounds?

“This study is disturbing to me because I don’t want people thinking that this is a good thing—working out without eating breakfast to lower their body fat,” said Florida-based sports nutritionist, Barbara Lewin, who has worked with ultra-athletes Terri Schneider, Michael Wardian and Katy Cotton.

“You’re going to break down lean body mass—your own muscle—and be too depleted in glycogen to work out the next day,” she said.

A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that skipping breakfast “is associated with a significantly higher risk of obesity,” and that breakfast skippers are 4.5 times more likely to become obese than regular breakfast eaters.

So who’s right? Lewin lauds the breakfast eaters. “From many years of studying athletes, we know that breakfast eaters tend to have a lower BMI and that they tend to be leaner.

“Food is fuel, and the idea of not eating breakfast, to me, is just crazy,” said Lewin.

Training for something? Better fuel up.


Erin Beresini is a senior editor at Competitor Magazine.

FILED UNDER: Inside The Magazine / Nutrition TAGS: / / / / /

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

Get our best running content delivered to your inbox

Subscribe to the FREE Competitor Running weekly newsletter