Intermittent Fasting For Health: For Weight Loss, Should You Skip Breakfast Or Dinner?

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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Daniel Younan, Canadian Armed Forces veteran and firefighter.

In my 13 years of training, I would always hear people tell me, "how are you skipping breakfast? It's the most important meal of the day." That's a load of crap. Your first meal is the most important meal of the day. Doesn't mean it has to be eaten once you wake up.  

I take my first meal at lunch. Our metabolisms were forged from our ancestors some 40,000 years ago who didn't know when or where their next meals would come from. They were active all day, walking ungodly distances in search of food and running for their lives when they were the food. There are days when their efforts to find food would yield a big fat zero. Having three square meals a day would be a blessing. Sometimes it would be just one meal, or none at all. When you're in a situation like that, the body finds a way to survive, and that survival is hinged on the storage of fat.

Our society these days is obsessed with consuming. We consume way more than we need. Just when we think we’ve had enough, we want more. Appetizers, dinner, dessert, drinks, all-you-can-eat buffets, french toast with syrup and a sugar-filled latte for breakfast, pizza and a milkshake for dinner. And its not like we spent all day roaming the land to find this food. How do we get it? Basically placed in our mouths. We either drive to the fast food joint or call and get it delivered to our door. 

We drive obscene distances to go to the gym to walk on the treadmill for twenty minutes and drive back. We are not earning our food. We are not working hard enough to be allowed to eat three square meals. Skipping a meal wont kill you. I promise. It's actually good for you and it's called intermittent fasting.

What is intermittent fasting (IF)? Simply put, it is the conscious decision to skip a meal or meals during the day. In this way you are choosing when you take your meals and when not to. The ideal time to take your meal while IF is after physical activity. I have been skipping breakfast (I know what you're thinking, blasphemy!) off and on for years now. I am still alive and well. I was never hospitalized or fell ill from this. By skipping breakfast, my body will need energy to burn and that energy comes from fat deposits. During your fasted state your body does not have previously ingested food to use as energy.  It has no choice but to draw from fat. Awesome! This is doubly true if you are working out while fasting. 

Your glucose and glycogen levels are low over the course of your fast and your body can't replenish without a pre workout meal. So it adapts and finds a way to fuel the body. Bring on the four course fat-cell meal! More fat being burned. You are not starving or torturing yourself. Yes, your stomach will growl and it will feel like it is eating itself. Good, let it! The reason why its growling and you're so hungry is because you taught yourself this. 

If you try IF for the next two months, you will notice a change in your eating habits. Your appetite will be suppressed. You will lose weight. You wont die, I promise you.  This is not malnutrition. You are simply letting your body take from its storage and use that as fuel. If you are properly eating and giving your body all the right nutrients, having three or four meals a day is not necessary.    

Benefits of intermittent fasting?

I previously mentioned our ancestors would sometimes go without eating for a few meals before their next score.  While they probably didn't realize it at the time, research has shown this has many health benefits.

Intermittent fasting has a number of health benefits.  When done properly it could extend your life, regulate your blood glucose, manage your body weight and give your digestive system a much needed break.

So stop stuffing your face and give it a try!

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