No, Eating Breakfast Won't Put Your Body Into A Fat Burning State
There’s an interesting notion that eating breakfast “jump starts” your metabolism and puts you into a fat-burning state. The parallel implies skipping breakfast puts your body into a fat-storing state.
This just is not true, at least not entirely. Let me explain and let’s start by looking at this practically.
When you eat something, your body is able to use that source of calories and nutrients for fuel. Why would your body tap its own energy stores if it has some readily available?
It doesn’t and it won't. Remember, your body doesn’t care about your fitness and nutrition goals. It simply wants to survive. So, it’s going to use the fuel you consumed not the fuel you have stored. You don’t tap into the reserves without first exhausting the primary source.
There’s No Magic Equation
Eating breakfast doesn’t magically put your body into a fat-burning state, and technically it’s not in a fat-storing state either. Your body is no longer in a fasted state, and that’s about it.
That fasted state is where your body is burning the body fat, not the “feasted” state. Saying this isn’t to imply you should skip breakfast, though the rise in intermittent fasting shows that it works for many folks. Rather, it’s to point out that there’s no magic equation to shedding body fat.
I’ll get back to that in a second because there are a few other important things to note.
Daily Micro Changes
We tend to view fat loss or gain through the lens of pounds or increments thereof. For example, we might lose a pound, gain a quarter of a pound, lose another pound, break even, etc. What we don’t often realize is the body fat we store or burn is constantly shifting on a micro-scale throughout the day.
We might eat a bit more than our body needs for breakfast, so it stores a little from that. Then for lunch, we might not eat enough, so our body burns a little stored fat (I’m using “enough” in the sense that your energy needs exceed your intake). For dinner, we might again eat a bit less than our body needs, so our body burns a little bit of that stored fat.
The scenario above might result in waking up the next day down a fraction of a pound. Not super noticeable but it was still the result of micro-changes throughout the day. Repeat this enough times, and you’ll continue to see your weight decrease. Pair this with adequate protein intake and some resistance training, and you have a solid recipe to lose fat while retaining muscle.
Unless you want to try intermittent fasting, a viable strategy but again, not a magic bullet, there is little reason to skip breakfast. Just because breakfast doesn’t put you into a fat-burning state doesn’t mean you should avoid it. It all comes down to total intake throughout the day. And even then, we’re still working on a small scale. Your potential weight increase or decrease each day has its limits. It’s ultimately about how much you consume for weeks and months that leads to significant enough changes to notice.
What About “Jump Starting” My Metabolism?
Now, that metabolism “jump start” I mentioned in the beginning technically has some merit. Your metabolism does increase when you eat food, and the amount of the increase varies based on the type of food. It's the "cost" of breaking down and processing the foods we eat. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF), and protein has the highest TEF because it’s the most complicated for your body to break down into something useful.
So, yes, your metabolism increases but so does your caloric intake. Fat loss is all about finding your way into a sustainable caloric deficit for a period of time. So, your focus should be less on your metabolism and more on your intake.
It’s also worth noting that many people find that consuming about 30g of protein in the morning, generally for breakfast, helps them eat less throughout the day. Thirty grams is roughly the amount in a protein shake or a few eggs. The protein helps them feel satisfied longer which leads to a lower caloric intake throughout the day - the overarching goal of fat loss.
What’s The Verdict?
There’s no magic equation to fat loss, and if there is, it’s simply: calories in - calories out = fat loss/fat gain. But know that the equation is simple on the surface, but there are variables that influence both the in and out. Since you've made it this far and for the sake of brevity, we'll look at those variables another day.
Eating breakfast means calories are coming in, but that doesn’t immediately imply that it’s going to make you lose or gain fat. After all, if eating breakfast helps you eat less throughout the day, then that’s going to contribute to fat loss.
What Should You Do?
The key is to figure out what works for you. I’m going to keep saying this until the cows come home: if you want to become a healthy, happy, fit person, then you simply need to do the things that healthy, happy, fit people do in a way that works for you. Perhaps that includes breakfast. Perhaps it doesn’t. Chances are, you have an idea of what works for you (or has worked in the past), what doesn’t work, and a few things that have you curious but you aren’t yet sure either way.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit stuck about what to do or try. You know what to do, but you’re having a tough time doing what you know.
If this is you, then you don’t need more information; you need repetition. You need consistency. You need a system that progressively and iteratively helps you bring this to life.
Enter, The Perfect Fitness Framework
That’s where I come in. I created the Perfect Fitness Framework as a simple system for sustainable change without the hype and hyperbole that plagues most fitness and nutrition programs.
It’s designed to meet you exactly where you are - no need to clear your refrigerator and cupboards from day one nor commit to a five times a week fitness plan. You’ve likely tried this, and you know it doesn’t work.
Instead, we focus on one thing at a time. I want you to set incredible, amazing, sometimes ridiculous goals for yourself. Have fun with that. But know the process should seem a little boring. You should be saying to yourself, “I already know how to do that.”
Good. Now show me. Show me how you do that. Show yourself how you do that. Do that one thing every day for at least a week. Put in the reps. Then move on to the next thing.
That’s what the Perfect Fitness Framework is all about.
And the best part is that I’ve packaged up the Perfect Fitness Framework and over $1200 worth of coaching into a complete program that’ll cost you less than a meal for two at your favorite restaurant (heck, less than a meal for one these days).
My Habit Tracking Success Journal, complete with a Transformation Guide and Digital Learning Center, will walk you step-by-step through everything we just talked about above.
From day one, you’ll quickly transition from knowing what to do to doing what you know. The best part, these changes aren’t something that come and go like the changing of the seasons; they become a part of who you are.
That healthy, happy, fit person I mentioned above, that’s you with the Perfect Fitness Framework on your side and in your life.
Don’t wait. Become an HDHU Hero. Become the Hero of your own movie. Get your Habit Tracking Success Journal and get started today.
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