It is a common strategy for people to skip breakfast because they are in a hurry or want to lose weight or feel lazy to cook breakfast. About one third of people world-wide skip breakfast.
Back in 1917, Lenna Frances Cooper authored an article in Good Health magazine “in many ways the breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it is the meal that gets the day started.” Good Health was published by an organization run by John Harvey Kellogg, MD, the co-inventor of corn flakes. More than a century after Cooper’s article appeared, scientists are debating whether breakfast is important at all, let alone the most important meal, at least as far as weight management is concerned.
Two recent studies (2019) were published in British Medical Journal and Journal of American College of Cardiology have concluded that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain and adverse cardiovascular risk profile respectively. Irregular eating patterns (skipping breakfast) are associated with bad cardiac and metabolic risk profile. Skipping breakfast has been linked to a higher prevalence of several CV and metabolic risk factors, such as overweight and central obesity, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and raised cholesterol levels. It has been shown in studies that people who have a tendency to skip breakfast were more likely to be smokers, alcohol drinkers, physically inactive and obese.
Skipping breakfast causing overeating later in the day leading in turn to overweight and insulin resistance, raised blood pressure levels due to overactivity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and deleterious changes in lipid levels.
Obesity, central adiposity, hypertension, higher cholesterol levels, blood glucose, and metabolic syndrome have been linked to skipping breakfast and in turn can partially explain the associations between this lifestyle bad habit and increased deaths due to cardiac and vascular causes. Very recently, it has been demonstrated that skipping breakfast is associated with the presence and severity of subclinical atherosclerosis (accumulation of cholesterol plaques in blood vessels).
Most of the data from these studies shows the association between skipping breakfast and weight gain. But this does not indicate that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain. Also the composition of breakfast varies between geographies and individuals. So what happens if a person has a high protein breakfast whether it causes weight gain or loss is not clear from the current data.