Breakfast May Make You Overeat

Read time: 30 seconds

You’ve heard it before, the saying that goes something like this:

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

You know there are quite a few of us in the IF community that have been calling BS on this one for a while. Still, nutritionists and health professionals continue jockey this concept.

Here’s a study that shows eating a bigger breakfast may only increase your overall calorie intake and does not make you eat less at other meals.

We know that it’s generally human nature to eat big at night, and there’s evidence that this may be an evolutionary trait. So, what overweight people are told is — eat a big breakfast, on top of their inherent propensity to eat a big dinner anyway.

Is it any wonder that, despite the millions of nutritionists and dietary lip services in existent today, that people are still fat and getting fatter?

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18 Responses to Breakfast May Make You Overeat

  1. Johnny says:

    I was one of these believers and preachers for a long time. I also followed the “5 or 6” meals per day is the way to keep you trim myth. I know much better now thanks to this site and others.

    • Michelle says:

      Can you expound on this? Which other sites? I am just tuning in…

      Signed *5 meal a day-er-breakfast the most important meal of day-er*

  2. Sue says:

    It could be an attention span thing. It’s easy to remember to eat a big breakfast, and then easy to forget to eat a small dinner. For me, breakfast is medium and typically close to noon or after – and I usually call it lunch, but I am “breaking my fast” then.

  3. David says:

    You know the one meal a day plan is like magic for me. Fat just melts off. Yesterday about 3 pm I realized that I wasn’t hungry in any way and my last meal was at 7 pm the night before. I used to get hunger pangs around 2pm – 3pm, but no more. I hope that the release of those beneficial hormones are not dependent on hunger pangs.

  4. kitoi says:

    No wonder I always eat so much at night. Since starting IFing in Nov the evening feeding has not effected my weight loss and fat burning. Everyone comments on how much I put away and still loose fat. I tell them how and all have said there’s no way I could do fasting.

  5. charity says:

    Thought the 6 meals a day was the way to go since I was “always hungry”, but 6 meals became 7…..and guess who can’t lose weight. Have decided to give IF a try again. My husband seems to just be that way although eating 6 times a day has instilled some bad eating habits that I have to try to break……

  6. Adrianne says:

    I ♥ skipping breakfast. I find I am always hungry at night whether I eat a little or a lot throughout the day. IF works very well for me!

  7. Kevin says:

    Even as a kid, breakfast always kinda grossed me out. These days I have it way less than even back then. I still like “breakfast” foods though … I just like them before bed. Oh the fitness horror! lol

    At the same time, I got sucked into the 6 meals a day thing a few years ago and got really obsessive over it. That sucked and is kind of embarrassing to think about now.

    These days I like either ‘Linner’ & Dinner on some days … or just Dinner & a snack later. I absolutely DO NOT miss eating on the clock & “bakin’ brownies” all day long at work at all. haha

  8. Phil says:

    yep, I eat around 1K calories of meat/eggs/veggies between 11:00 am and noon, and another 800-900 in the evening and it is working well for me.

  9. Jake says:

    Two years ago I spent a lot of time in rural southern Italy. I made a special effort to find out what they ate as I saw no obesity and stats say they have very little heart disease.

    They eat two meals a day-a large lunch at 1PM or later and a smaller dinner. So they in effect do intermittent fasting every day.

  10. Wood says:

    Johhny a litle oftopic (maybe i should post in the fear of food) but what dou you think about food toxins? Lately I read a lot about that wheat (gluten), milk, seedoils are toxins and do harm. Can it be a real danger or some other hype?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Wood,

      Some people are more sensitive than others, but all food can become toxic if overeaten. Remember that the poison lies in the dose, and keep in mind that other cultures include stuff that we believe are toxic. The difference is that they don’t over do it. Also, seedoils are just bad news… if consumed in excess. Many common food in North America definitely contains or is cooked in seedoil, leading the average person to overconsumption.

      Best,
      Johnny

  11. Yannick Messaoud says:

    I will eat if i am hungry, i am quit lucky in my job because i work 3 times per week but on 12 hours shifts. Theses days i will have a whey protein shake in the morning.

    Other days i don’t work i will eat if i am hungry and it will be a low carb high protein breakfast.

  12. Stephen says:

    Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper, is the kind of nonsense that is promoted as traditional past times common sense while it has never been practiced in history.

    The truth is that every culture enjoy big dinners. Whether it’s the restaurant or a celebration or poor families dining together on long tables or town fairs and festivals or inviting a friend over, humans have always eaten big at night, at dinner and eaten light at lunch. It was true in the 1700, it was true of the mediterranean countries in the early 1900 and it’s true nowadays.

    Lunch is just something that breaks the flow of the day and not much time can be devoted to it. It must be light and quick so that whatever activity has been interrupted for eating can be resumed quickly. Only at dinner there’s the time to really savour the food slowly, eat with other people, cook in advance, relax for the rest of the night and sitting at the table even when the dinner is over to chat and laugh.

    The idea that lunch can be a huge meal is practically absurd since no one has the time to preparare a big lunch in a working day (and this was true in 1800 as well, the only big lunch was on sunday) and the time to really enjoy it with the company of other people. Ironically, princes has never eaten lunches like princes. Even for princes the biggest meal has always been the dinner: the time for celebrations, for cocktails, for balls, for political discussions in front of a big full table

  13. Mariana says:

    Hi Johnny. I am enjoying your site so far!

    I am wondering what your thoughts are as far as intermittent fasting for someone suffering from a binge eating disorder. In the past I ate smaller meals spaced through the day, and I lost weight and looked great…but ever since starting intermittent fasting, it’s almost as though my stomach has expanded and I’ve seemed to develop an eating disorder. Some days I can hit my goal calories, but more days I find myself falling victim to binges. My calories are not extremely low. I’m fairly active, and I try to be in the gym 4-5 days a week.

    In honesty, I am dealing with stress and emotional drama presently, but I NEVER used to overeat due to this. It’s only since beginning intermittent fasting that I developed an overeating habit. And this happens even when I removed sugar from my diet and began paleo…if I don’t binge on carbs, I binge on fats and proteins, and fruit!

    Do you think that IF would really be for me? Do you think I should switch back to my meals being spaced out so I can re-learn what it feels like to practice portion control?

    Thank you for your insight!

    -Mari

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Mariana,

      Before intermittent fasting, you’ll have to address the stress and emotional issues. Then, again before IF, you’ll have to work on the binge eating behavior. The latter takes work, but you’ll have first get in touch with food and your body. Make a habit of asking yourself if your body still *needs* the food, and then make a habit of listening and going with your answer. Sometimes we eat continuously because we’re searching for something else deeper and more complex. But try to keep it simple and just listen to your body’s true need for food — and hopefully this will break old (and complicated) habits and create new one. It will take effort and time.

      Best,
      Johnny

  14. Emma says:

    Hi Johhny,

    I have a question about the timing of the eating window. I am on medications that need to be taken in the morning, with food. Is it really such a bad idea to have one’s eating window between 7am and 3pm say, rather than between 4pm and 11pm?

    I appreciate your advice,

    Emma.

  15. Paul Lee says:

    Its best to junk the morning insulin surge! Also I read somewhere (don’t know where) that in the early Royal Navy the main meal of the day wasn’t till early afternoon, about 2pm. I think the “three square meals” a day orthodoxy is relatively recent.

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