“Eating first thing revs your calorie burn…If you don’t eat within two hours of waking, your metabolism can slow down to conserve energy.”
Arrggh! What will it take to put a stake through the heart of this myth-that-will-not-die? Bob Harper and Shape are not the first to perpetuate this urban legend and I’m sure they won’t be the last. But, c’mon! A guy of this clout and a magazine of this caliber should do better than repeat well-worn nonsense. They should be a beacon of accuracy in the swirling fog nutrition misinformation. And so, I’d like to issue…
A Friendly Challenge to Mr. Harper and the Editors of Shape:
If you can produce one shred of evidence or data to support this statement, I will personally treat you all to breakfast–a protein-rich and high fiber breakfast, of course.
I’m not talking about anecdotal observations or the say-so of smart, famous, or good-looking people. I’m looking for any actual verifiable data that supports this mother-of-all-nutrition-myths.
To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t any. Although it’s true that your metabolism will slow down to conserve energy after a prolonged fast, this does not happen if you go two hours–or even twelve hours–without eating. In fact, it takes at least two days of fasting or severe caloric restriction to trigger any metabolic adjustment.
Related Content: Metabolism Myths
And although it’s constantly repeated by various weight loss gurus, this idea that eating breakfast “revs your metabolism” is, as far as I can determine, a completely unsubstantiated urban legend. It’s not just that it’s never been definitively proven. It’s actually been proven false in at least one study.
It’s True: Breakfast Can Support Weight Loss.
There are plenty of legitimate arguments for eating breakfast, and Shape goes on to list a couple of them.
- Dieters who eat breakfast are more successful, both at losing weight and keeping it off, than those who don’t.
- Eating breakfast may make it easier to resist temptations later in the day. (One caveat, however: For people who are not carefully monitoring their calorie intake, eating breakfast tends to increase their total calorie intake over the course of the day.)
Related Content: Can Eating Breakfast Help You Lose Weight?
I’m Not Against Breakfast; I’m Against Misinformation
It’s not that Shape is giving out bad advice. But what do we gain by supporting good advice with made-up facts? Unless Harper has some scientific back-up for the idea that breakfast speeds metabolism or that skipping breakfast shuts it down, I wish he would use his considerable influence to spread good science instead of reinforcing urban legends.
So, can I buy anyone breakfast?