Effects of Eating Breakfast as Your Only Meal

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but it's only one of several that everyone needs to function at peak levels. Skipping most of the day's nutrition can and will have myriad adverse effects, not just on your health, but also on your job or school performance. If you're considering having breakfast as the sole meal of the day, keep in mind that the risks far outweigh whatever short-term benefits you might experience.

A man and woman are eating breakfast together.
Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images


Your body needs calories to function, but it also needs the nutrients in food to keep you as healthy as possible. It's virtually impossible to pack all the day's nutrients into one meal. You might try to replace the lack of nutrients with supplements, but keep in mind that they are not as effective as the nutrients found in food. In addition, falling short on key nutrients such as protein, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium dramatically increases your risk of conditions such as anemia, osteoporosis and even brain damage.

Damaged Metabolism

Breakfast is intended to kick-start your metabolism at the beginning of the day. Any snacks and meals later are intended to keep it humming and keep hunger at bay. If you stop eating after breakfast, your metabolism goes into "starvation mode," slowing dramatically and drawing on your body's stored energy. Moreover, leaving your metabolism idle for most of the day means that over time, it will slow permanently. When and if you decide to resume normal eating habits, you will gain weight quickly because your metabolism is unaccustomed to breaking down food on a regular basis.

Cognitive and Psychological Problems

Eating regular meals ensures that the brain receives enough glucose to function properly and support neural processes. When you leave your brain without glucose for most of the day, you will experience a range of negative side effects, such as memory loss and extreme difficulty concentrating. You might also experience dramatic mood swings and damage your brain's ability to tell the difference between hunger and satiety.

Blood Sugar Spikes

When you eat, your body breaks the food into two parts: fat and energy. The fat is stored, while the energy goes into the bloodstream in the form of sugar to service your organs and keep you going. You might give your body a jump-start in the morning, but skipping the rest of the day's nutrition will cause a serious drop in blood sugar. You will feel sluggish, tired, irritable and jittery, likely damaging your work or school performance. In addition, regular blood spikes and drops put you at serious risk of developing diabetes.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.