No matter your chosen method, you’ll inevitably get questions about fasting. The most common one is whether or not it’s okay to skip breakfast on your IF schedule. Some people prefer to fast during the day, while others prefer to fast at night.
There are two ways by which you can do Intermittent fasting. You can either skip your breakfast each day or skip your dinner. Many people prefer skipping their dinner to follow the routine since you eat more in the morning.
In this article, I will talk about what happens when you skip breakfast or dinner as part of an intermittent fast — and which meal is best for losing weight and improving health outcomes. This blog post not only discusses this question but also explains the 5 different types of intermittent fasting techniques and their benefits.
Which Meal Is Best to Skip for Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, but what about the meals you skip? Which ones should you skip, and which ones should you keep?
There are many different ways to approach intermittent fasting. The most popular is 16:8, where you eat normally eight hours a day and fast for 16 hours overnight (from 8 p.m. to noon). Other variations include 24-hour fasts or intermittent fasting every other day.
The answer depends on your goals. If you want to lose weight, then it’s best to skip breakfast. Your body will be more likely to store fat if it doesn’t get food early in the morning, so skipping breakfast may actually help you lose weight faster.
If you’re trying to maintain or gain lean muscle mass while fasting, then it’s best to skip dinner. If you’re sedentary during the day, your muscles need energy for repair and growth. They like carbohydrates for this purpose (think of carbs as fuel), meaning skipping dinner can make it harder for your muscles to grow stronger.
Intermittent fasting is a fantastic way to lose weight and keep it off, but some people find it hard to stick to because they are hungry when their fasting window comes around.
One way you can make IF easier to stick to is by skipping breakfast. This might seem counterintuitive, but the science behind it does make sense. Basically, fasting improves insulin sensitivity, which means that after your body gets used to fasting, your insulin increases at a slower rate if you are saving up calories for later in the day.
Immediately after your last meal of the night, the glucose levels in your blood start dropping—the quicker they go down, the more likely you are to feel hungry.
By skipping breakfast and giving yourself an extended period of fasting before eating, you give your body more time to burn through its sugar stores (and therefore reduce glucose levels) so that you are less likely to be hungry between meals or as soon as your body starts burning fat for fuel.
However, not everyone has the same experience with intermittent fasting, and some find that skipping breakfast helps them feel less full during their eating window, which means they eat more than they should when it’s time for their next meal. If this sounds like you, then simply try adjusting when you eat: if you feel less hungry when you skip breakfast, then try having your first meal at noon instead.
If you find that you’re still hungry before dinner time, then adjust again until you find a schedule that works for you.
Historically, skipping dinner has been the most common practice when it comes to IF, which some people do in hopes of more easily losing weight—the body tends to cling to its fat stores in the evening, so by fasting until breakfast time, you’re giving your body less time to hang on to them. There’s also some evidence that skipping dinner helps with blood sugar control and may help you sleep better at night.
The idea of skipping dinner is appealing for a lot of reasons: You get a longer fasting period in general, which may make it easier for you to stick with IF; fewer meals mean fewer opportunities for you to fall off the wagon by binging; and dinner is often the heaviest meal of the day anyway, so there’s no guarantee that skipping it will even reduce your calorie intake per se.
Many people report positive experiences with skipping dinner and say they’ve seen great results from doing so. But there are also some concerns about the idea of skipping dinner.
For one thing, it’s easy to overeat at breakfast because you’re still in a fasting state—you haven’t had anything since dinner the night before, and your blood sugar will be low. This can lead to excessive hunger later in the day, making it more difficult for you to stick with IF over time.
Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)
Alternate day fasting seems to be the easiest of all the methods to comply with. This is mostly because it’s so similar to what your body is already used to. Instead of going without food for an entire day, you’d still get your usual three meals a day and then fast an extra 24 hours every other day.
That means your fasting days would consist of no calories, not even water. On other days, you’d eat your usual three meals as you normally would. On these eating days, however, instead of eating breakfast and lunch and then saving dinner for last, you’d eat dinner first.
One thing you’ll have to get used to with ADF is that it’s best to eat very small meals on your non-fasting days. This may require some planning ahead if you’re not accustomed to smaller portions.
If you’re used to eating a big breakfast and dinner, switching to two small dinners might be a good way to start out. Later on, once you’re used to this pattern, try making one of those dinners even smaller than before and see how that feels.
You could also try switching around the timing of when you eat your meals—instead of breakfast first thing in the morning and dinner at night, try eating breakfast earlier in the day and having dinner later.
The idea is to slowly shift your routines to fit with ADF better; don’t try to make too many changes at once, or else it might be overwhelming.
The 5:2 Method
In the 5:2 method, you eat normally for five days, then fast for two. If you’re sticking to a typical eating schedule of three meals a day plus snacks, that means you’ll have to skip a meal every other day. This is the simplest method of intermittent fasting because it doesn’t require any advanced math—you eat 14 meals in a week instead of seven or six.
What does skipping a meal mean? It’s not just about skipping breakfast; it’s about missing lunch and dinner, too. That may sound difficult—isn’t that going to make your workday even harder? And won’t you be starving by the time dinner rolls around again?
Well, not necessarily. While some people find that IF is incredibly hard to adapt to, others love it because it means no more dealing with breakfast and lunch cravings. Plus, skipping a meal gives you an opportunity to rest and relax your body.
In addition to giving your body a break from digesting food, the 5:2 method has been shown in clinical trials to boost human growth hormone (HGH) levels by as much as 200%, which can help you drop pounds quickly.
Moreover, studies have also shown this method helps people maintain steady blood glucose levels while eating diets high in fat and protein. This is important because it means you won’t experience insulin spikes and crashes that lead to weight gain over time.
A Typical 5:2 Day Method
The most popular way to tackle this method is to pick a day in which you don’t eat very much but then eat whatever you want on the others. There are lots of ways to do this.
For Example, You Could:
You can also choose any combination of these approaches. The choice is yours.
The Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet is a fasting method created by Ori Hofmekler, an Israeli martial arts expert. Although it’s not entirely clear how the diet got its name, it’s likely because this fasting method requires you to eat like a warrior. In other words, you’ll be eating smaller meals with no snacking in between.
In addition to skipping meals, the Warrior Diet also encourages you to keep your portions small. For example, you’ll eat only about 3 ounces of protein and some vegetables for breakfast. It also requires that you fast for 20 hours every day (from dinner until lunch), which is longer than any of the other methods discussed here.
Is it extreme? Yes, but only because it’s one of the most restrictive types of fasting. The Warrior Diet is similar to other intermittent fasting methods in that it allows you to eat whatever you want within a specific time frame each day.
That said, because your portions are so small and there’s very little snacking allowed (on non-fasting days), this method can be difficult to stick with if you’re not used to eating less than 1,200 calories per day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which meal is best to skip for weight loss?
While there’s no definitive answer to this question, many nutritionists recommend that you skip breakfast if you’re trying to lose weight. This is because breakfast tends to be the largest meal of the day, so by skipping it, you can reduce your calorie intake by hundreds or even thousands.
Can I skip lunch during intermittent fasting?
Yes, you can skip lunch during intermittent fasting. However, this is not recommended because it could lead to overeating later in the day or at night. This is especially true if you’re doing a 16/8 fast (eating for only eight hours per day). In this case, skipping lunch means that you’ll be fasting for more than 16 hours by the end of the day!
Which meal is best to skip for intermittent fasting?
You can skip any meal during intermittent fasting. You may find that skipping breakfast is most beneficial since this is the largest meal of the day and tends to be the most calorie-dense. However, if you don’t like eating in the morning or have social obligations that make it difficult to skip breakfast, then try skipping lunch instead.
Is it OK to skip dinner for intermittent fasting?
It’s fine to skip dinner for intermittent fasting. Many people prefer to eat their last meal of the day around 6 p.m., but this isn’t necessary. You can choose any time of day that works best for your schedule and lifestyle.
Is it better to skip breakfast or dinner when intermittent fasting?
It doesn’t matter which meal you skip, as long as you eat fewer calories than your body needs. If you feel better skipping breakfast, then do that. If skipping dinner works better for your schedule and lifestyle, then go ahead and skip that one. Both approaches will work equally well for weight loss.
What is the best first meal when intermittent fasting?
The first meal of the day is often the most important because it sets the tone for how you feel and perform during the rest of your day. This means that it’s important to choose foods that are high in nutrients, low in calories, and easy to digest. A good breakfast should include some protein (such as eggs or meat), healthy fats (like avocado), and fiber-rich carbs (such as whole grains, fruits, or vegetables).
What should I eat during intermittent fasting for 16 hours?
You can eat whatever you want during your fasted period, but it’s best to choose meals that are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbs. This will help keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. Protein-rich foods include beef, chicken breast, turkey breast, and fish like salmon, tuna, or halibut. Healthy fats are found in nuts like almonds, walnuts, and avocados. Fiber-rich carbs include whole grains such as quinoa or brown rice.
One alternative that’s often cited is skipping breakfast instead and eating dinner more like lunch. Put simply, this is an option if you don’t mind skipping dinner altogether, do not have time to eat dinner before you go to bed, or need to adjust your eating schedule to match your sleeping pattern.
If you’re going to skip a meal, remember what makes the most sense for your body. If you’re eating your first meals of the day during lunch and dinner, then you could make a stand here and eat breakfast. If you train in the morning, have done so all week, and you’re waking up famished, go ahead and eat.
There are tons of IF protocols out there that make all sorts of claims about when you should be eating (or not) based on your cardio, training schedule, or whatever else. But really, in the end, skip whatever meal you want – just do it for the right reasons!