You’ve heard about the importance of breakfast a thousand times – but with the relatively new popularity of fasting and intermittent fasting, you might be left wondering what happened to the humble breakfast meal.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a way of eating that involves periods of fasting (go, figure).
It can be done in a number of ways, but the most popular are:
– 5:2, made popular by a book written by Dr Michael Ericsson. This style of IF involves eating ‘normally’ for five days of the week, and on two days of the week you restrict your calorie intake to around 5-600 for the entire day.
– 16:8, my preferred approach to IF, involves reducing your ‘eating window’ (i.e. the amount of time during the day that you are consuming food) to 8 hours, giving your body a 16 hour fast overnight, every night. So for example, if you had your first meal at 12pm, you would not eat past 8pm that same day.
I’m mostly referring to the 16:8 way of eating in this article, because that is what I do (or loosely based upon it) and it’s also what I find works really well for my clients.
So, what happens to breakfast when you’re doing IF? My days usually involve me not eating anything until at least 10am, sometimes later. Am I breaking a cardinal rule by not having ‘breakfast’?
Breakfast is actually defined as the first meal of the day. So isn’t my breakfast the meal I have when I literally break my fast?
Regardless of what time that is? The jury is out on this one, in the nutrition world, but I have been doing my own version of IF for almost two months now, and I really like the way it makes me feel. My digestion is heaps better, I have a bit more energy, and I’ve even lost a bit of weight as well.
And I always make sure my first meal is full of high-quality proteins, fats and fibre – no matter what time of the day I have it. Because I do believe that the meal that breaks your fast is super important in determining your food choices for the rest of the day. I’m just not sure I believe that breakfast has to be eaten at a certain time of the day 😉
P.S. It’s not just me! There’s tonnes of research around intermittent fasting and it’s health benefits, including digestive health, weight loss, energy levels, concentration and focus, longevity and heaps more.