With the rise of popular diets like intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets, many people have started to wonder if they should be fasting in the morning.
This really is a tricky subject, as many of us have been taught from a young age that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Before we answer this questions it is important to remember that the entire purpose of breakfast is in the name - you are “breaking the fast”. With this in mind breakfast is a meal that can be eaten at any time, so long as it is the first meal of the day.
Technically speaking, if you fasted all day and your first meal was at 7 PM, you would still be breaking your fast and therefore eating your breakfast.
With that out of the way, is fasting in this way healthy for you, and can it help you lose weight?
In short - yes it can be healthy, and yes it can help you lose weight. Let me explain.
Fasting is Normal
Many people see fasting as a strange thing that weird people do - but in reality, it is a mechanism our ancestors have been doing since the beginning of homo sapiens.
We’re not going to delve into evolution here, but for much of human existence we have been scavenging, gathering and hunting - which in many cases would take up much of the day, only to leave a meal in the evening.
Our bodies have adapted to this behaviour and this is why your brain, muscles and most internal organs can function off both glycogen (from carbs) and ketones (from fat).
Can It Help You Lose Weight?
This question is a little bit more subjective. Anyone can lose weight when they have their diet in check, accelerate their metabolism and are training toward a specific goal.
Simply starving yourself in the morning is not a sure-fire way to lose weight. The purpose of a fast for weight loss is to allow your body to draw on fats as fuel - enlisting the help of a process known as the post-absorbic state.
Simply fasting for no reason, or on the basis of weight loss without working out may not lead to any better results - especially if your total daily calories are no less than they were on a normal diet.
At the end of the day, weight loss will come down to your caloric balance. If you are in a deficit (eating less than is needed) you will be more likely to lose weight.
Fasting in the morning and then having massive meals that surpass your caloric allowance will not lead to weight loss - or at least, it is highly unlikely.
Should You Be Fasting?
Fasting is a great way to teach your body how to best utilize the energy in food -, especially fats. Many people who eat a carb-rich diet will have loads of energy and perform at a high level, but they are not looking to lose weight.
If you are looking to lose weight and fast, be sure you are still maintaining a caloric deficit at the end of the day. Eat clean, exercise hard and count your calories. This is the most effective way to ensure you are losing weight.