Should you eat breakfast or intermittently fast?

Why not try a blend of both?

It surprises me the amount of contention surrounding breakfast these days in light of the recent spotlight on intermittent fasting. There are multiple variants of intermittent fasting that I won’t get into too much detail, but in general my research tells me that there is relatively little data in the metabolic changes or weight loss outcomes in humans thus far.

From my own observations, patients who have told me about extreme variants like Alternate-Day Fasting have found it challenging. Others have found Time Restricted Fasting to be a bit more tolerable – many of them  skip breakfast leaving a 16 hour gap of time where they fast, and an 8 hour eating window (ie. 12pm-8pm). This has shown mixed results. Some people are able to generally eat less of their daily caloric intake (DCI) in that 8 hour window while many actually end up ravenous when noon rolls around and they end up grazing well over their DCI for the entire 8 hour window. Some people end up gaining weight. Again, this is based on clinical observations of patient reports.

Generally, I try to recommend that patients lifestyle modifications are done in a way that they are able to consume less calories but in a way that they can happily live with.

On that note, there is a convincing abundance of literature to suggest breakfast as a useful weight control tool as if enables us to structure our day, curbs hunger pangs and prevents a slowing of our metabolism among its benefits. A common report from the bariatric (obese) population is that they skip breakfast, graze a bit on lunch, and eat a majority of their daily calories in the late afternoon evening with the inclusion of grazing. This is a challenging pattern to get out of.

Generally, my first recommendation to my patients is to start the day with a breakfast. I had the pleasure of joining renown GP and obesity expert, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, who runs Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa. He is a Best-Selling author to, Best Weight, and suggests that everyone should be eating breakfast (at least 150-200 calories) within an hour of waking. I have to agree. I think this really sets the stage for the day and does do wonders with curbing an insatiable appetite later.

A helpful way to go about this breakfast or fast conundrum is to use my “Stop-by-7-Rule”. For the average patient, this could mean wrapping up dinner by 7pm, avoid evening eating, and if you’re having breakfast at 8am that’s 13 hours you’ve let your appetite system rest. How’s that for intermittent fasting?

Yours,

Dr. Sandy

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