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Don’t Skip Breakfast!

Skipping breakfast down regulates genes for weight loss.

When it comes to dieting, there are those that believe in skipping breakfast for weight loss, and others who stand firmly that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. More and more Americans on-the-go are skipping the most important meal of the day, not eating until lunch, in hopes of shedding a few extra pounds. Additionally, there are those practicing intermittent fasting, which requires skipping breakfast. A new Tel Aviv University study published in Diabetes Care suggests that skipping breakfast disrupts the body’s circadian clock and can result in metabolic disturbances.

The lead author of the study, Prof. Jakubowicz was quoted as saying, “Our study shows that breakfast consumption triggers the proper cyclic clock gene expression leading to improved glucose and insulin control. The circadian clock gene not only regulates the circadian changes of glucose metabolism but also regulates our body weight, blood pressure, endothelial function, and atherosclerosis. Proper meal timing—such as consuming breakfast before 9:30 a.m.—could lead to an improvement of the entire metabolism of the body, facilitate weight loss, and delay complications associated with type 2 diabetes and other age-related disorders.”

For the study, 18 healthy volunteers and 18 obese volunteers with diabetes took part in a test day featuring breakfast and lunch, and in a test day featuring only lunch. On both days, the researchers conducted blood tests on the participants to measure their postprandial clock gene expression, plasma glucose, insulin and intact glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Over the course of two days, the participants consumed precisely the same number of calories and the same balanced meal—milk, tuna, bread, and a chocolate breakfast bar—for lunch and dinner. The only difference was that one day they ate breakfast and the second day they fasted until lunch. The subjects who consumed breakfast had better metabolic parameters than those who skipped breakfast despite eating the same amount of calories. The researchers found that participants experienced extraordinary glucose peaks of 268 mg/dl after lunch and 298 mg/dl after dinner on days they skipped breakfast, versus only 192 mg/dl, and 215 mg/dl after eating an identical lunch and dinner on days they ate breakfast. This study shows that there are circadian rhythms in glucose and insulin and eating breakfast results in better glycemic control. In contrast, in test days featuring only lunch (when participants skipped breakfast), the clock genes related to weight loss were down-regulated, leading to blood sugar spikes and poor insulin responses for the rest of the day, also suggesting that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain even without the incidence of overeating the rest of the day.

This is not the first study to show that skipping breakfast can cause havoc on your metabolism. A previous study looked at a large breakfast/small dinner vs. a small breakfast/large dinner, but they were fed the same amount of calories.

– One group consumed a 701 calorie breakfast at 8 am an identical 701 calorie lunch at 1:30 p.m., and another 701 calorie dinner at 7 p.m. All meals had an equal calorie and macronutrient content (20 percent fat, 26 percent protein, 54 percent carbohydrates).
– The other group did not eat breakfast, and continued their overnight fast until consuming the same 701 calorie lunch at 1:30 p.m., along with a 701 calorie dinner at 7 p.m.

At the end of the study, the group that skipped breakfast led to higher glycemic index response, high levels of glucagon and free fatty acids, and reduced levels of insulin, C-peptide, and GLP-1 after lunch and dinner, whereas breakfast consumption led to a reverse metabolic state! Breakfast omission resulted in impaired insulin and led to 40 percent and 25 percent higher peaks in blood sugar levels after lunch and dinner, respectively. Based on the most recent studies, it seems that skipping breakfast is not the best method to improve overall health and wellness. If you are on the go, try grabbing a Protein Rush for a protein-rich meal replacement.

Influences of Breakfast on Clock Gene Expression and Postprandial Glycemia in Healthy Individuals and Individuals With Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial Daniela Jakubowicz, Julio Wainstein, Zohar Landau, Itamar Raz, Bo Ahren, Nava Chapnik, Tali Ganz,Miriam Menaged, Maayan Barnea, Yosefa Bar-Dayan and Oren Froy Diabetes Care 2017 Aug; dc162753. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc16-2753


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