Healthy Eating Skipping breakfast could have effect on athletic performance - Study finds

In a study of 10 men, skipping breakfast led to a dip in athletic performance hours later, even after a larger lunch.

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A study has found that skipping breakfast could affect performance in athletic performance later in the day.

According to Reuters, in a study of 10 men, skipping breakfast led to a dip in athletic performance hours later, even after a larger lunch.

Despite the bigger lunch, skipping breakfast led to a slightly lower overall calorie count for the day.

According to the researchers, if weight loss is not the priority, forgoing breakfast might backfire by reducing the effectiveness of the day’s workout.

Said senior reserach author Dr. Lewis J. James
 of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom,

“Many athletes as well as recreational exercisers do so in the evening and breakfast skipping is a relatively common dietary practice, whilst we know that consuming breakfast is likely to be the best dietary strategy in most situations to maximize exercise performance in the morning, we did not know how or if breakfast skipping/ consumption influenced evening exercise performance in a situation where the exerciser ate lunch”

For the study, the researchers had 10 men who were regular breakfast eaters complete an evening athletic trial twice, once after eating breakfast in the morning and once after skipping it.

On days when they skipped breakfast, the men consumed an average of almost 200 more calories at lunch compared to days when they ate breakfast, but total calorie intake tended to be lower on days without breakfast.

Average heart rate and total fat oxidation during the cycling test was greater after skipping breakfast compared to after eating breakfast.

Also, the men worked harder, expending marginally more calories, on days when they had eaten breakfast.

According to David Levitsky, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York,

“Skipping breakfast reduces the amount of available energy (glucose) for muscular activity and therefore it would be important to know if this had a functional consequence – i.e. reduced performance,”

For James, although it impaired performance, skipping breakfast or exercising with suboptimal carbohydrate status might enhance training adaptation in some cases, so sometimes it can be the right choice.

He also the findings indicate that skipping breakfast could be used as a strategy to reduce overall energy intake, in habitual breakfast consumers at least, where weight management is the key goal.

He however added a word of caution saying "weight loss will depend on the balance of energy intake and energy expenditure and if skipping breakfast resulted in more feelings of tiredness and reduced physical activity over the day this might attenuate the energy deficit created by skipping breakfast"

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