Why Breakfast is Nothing But a Scam

Here’s another updated classic from the archives:

She’s sitting on the opposite side of the bar, by herself, and she’s smoking hot. With her stiletto heels, fishnet stockings, and hang-your-keys-on-them chest, she’s obviously being watched by every guy in the place, whether they’re single or not. This girl I’m envisioning? You’d look. Trust me.

Here’s the thing about science, though. Unless one of these clowns actually takes this girl home and tests the hypothesis that she’s a woman, nobody will know the other side of things: that “she” might, in actuality, be a transvestite.

I use this analogy whenever anyone starts talking to me about scientific research—specifically regarding something I often refer to as the observation fallacy. What typically happens is that all the so-called experts out there use semantics and backward logic to replace proof with mere observation. The problem is that observing something doesn’t actually make it true.

I found this out the hard way after over a decade researching the science behind Carb Back-Loading™ and Carb Nite®. I’ve also noticed people publishing articles containing their own conclusions about Carb Back-Loading (CBL)—simply interpreting what I’m saying rather than doing research of their own. Several people have even written random workout plans for CBL without even a rudimentary understanding of how CBL relates to training. Sure, I can observe that your workout will make people tired. But what does that have to do with the science behind this particular program? Nothing at all.

Of course, scientific research begins with observation. Through the centuries, it’s been the observations of scientific giants that started us down paths to advancement. Observation, however, is only the first step in the process. There are two more steps a scientist must take before conclusions can be drawn and the next course of action can be decided:

Step 2: After observing some phenomenon, the scientist comes up with an explanation for what he’s seen.

Step 3: The scientist then tests his explanation in a variety of ways to see if he’s right.

Then, and only then, can we proceed further. This is how science works. In the health and fitness industry, however, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Fitness professionals observe, and then they jump directly to prescription. This is why there’s so much conflicting information out there—so many diet programs, so many training programs, and so much of everything else.

There’s one fallacy borne of observation, however, that bothers me more than most. We call it a healthy breakfast.

THE PREMISE: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will make you a healthy, happy, ripped, jacked, lean, energetic sex and training machine because it kickstarts your metabolism and gets your day off to the best possible start by providing the human rocket fuel called carbs.

oatsTHE OBSERVATION: All the shiny, happy fitness folks eat breakfast, so therefore, breakfast is the key to their success. This, of course, is backed up by all the anecdotal evidence and theoretical logic in the world. If you haven’t eaten anything all night, your body is starving and it’s going to need food, right? If you eat a lot of food in the morning, your metabolism turns on early in the day, and you’ll be able to burn off whatever you eat. And since your brain functions better with carbs, downing a low-fat, high-carb breakfast will make you smarter and help you function better at work and school.

THE REALITY: Whenever I start working with a new client, I tell them to stop eating breakfast. Breakfast sucks. You shouldn’t be eating it, either.

Here’s what happens with your hormones around 7 AM. Your cortisol levels elevate naturally through the night[1-9], eventually peaking[2, 9-14]. Of course, the common misperception is that cortisol is catabolic, and without food, your body will start to eat its own muscle. This is incorrect. When something is catabolic, this only describes the process of material being broken down for energy. When cortisol acts without elevated insulin levels—without being constantly elevated the way it is during chronic stress—it triggers the breakdown of triglycerides into free-fatty acids (FFAs) for metabolization, and triggers lipolysis[1, 2, 14-28]. In the morning, cortisol actually accelerates fat burning.

Your body’s main hunger control hormone is ghrelin[32]. It’s released in a pulsatile manner throughout the night, and it peaks when you wake[29-31]. This incites hunger, but ghrelin also potently stimulates the release of growth hormone[33-44]. As this happens, and growth hormone levels increase, your body releases more fat to be burned as fuel[45-49] and decreases the destruction of protein for use as fuel[50]. When you don’t eat carbs at breakfast (or more specifically, don’t spike insulin levels), your growth hormone levels peak approximately two hours after you wake up[51].

Your body starts each day as a fat-burning machine, and the key to simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain is to avoid screwing that up. Even when you’re exercising, your body will burn far higher levels of fat than normal on an empty stomach[52, 53]. This also causes the upregulation of enzymes crucial for burning fat, allowing fat to be metabolized faster[54].

Let’s say you eat a breakfast containing 30 grams or more of carbs. Your insulin levels raise with the rise in blood sugar, and this starts you on a downward spiral. This early-morning release of insulin vastly reduces fat burning for the remainder of the day[55], which is big problem because your morning cortisol levels remain high. As a result, this insulin release causes new empty fat cells to be created [56-64], and it lowers your levels of ghrelin and growth hormone[29-31, 51]. In other words, by eating breakfast, you’re essentially wreaking havoc on all the positive things that happen when you wake up.

baconandeggsWhat I’ve just described is reality, not observation. In this light, you’d think we should maybe hold off on breakfast for a while after we wake up—at least until cortisol levels return to normal and growth hormone levels fall on their own, a process that takes a few hours. When looked at from a scientific standpoint, skipping carbs at breakfast certainly appears to be a way to lose body fat faster—or, at the very least, to keep it off.

Researchers studied two groups: one that ate most of their calories at the start of the day (simulating the nothing-after-7 PM rule), while the other group skipped breakfast and ate most of their meals in the last half of the day. What happened? Well, the first group, the one that ate most of their calories early on (including a huge carby breakfast), lost more weight than the second group[65].

Before you stop reading and tell me I’ve been debunked, let me tell you what else happened. The researchers examined the subjects’ body composition before and after the study, and that’s where we see reality. Yes, the feast-in-the-morning group lost more weight, but they lost a lot more muscle and a lot less fat. The second group—which, again, ate most of their calories at night—lost almost exclusively fat while preserving muscle[65-69]. Interesting, right?

What about the cognitive aspects of skipping carbs at breakfast? Will it really cloud your thinking and slow you down mentally? All the evidence supporting this, at least what I’ve seen, is anecdotal at best. Have experiments proven that a carby breakfast or any breakfast at all improves cognitive abilities? Yes, if the subjects are malnourished[70-73].

Researchers withheld breakfast from one group of kids, letting them eat their first meal at lunch, while a second group of kids at a so-called balanced breakfast. The result? When kids skip breakfast, they pay attention, behave, and perform better throughout the entire day[72-83]. We may not want to believe this, but it’s exactly what I’m talking about with regard to observation and proof. In the case of these kids, there must be some other factor relating breakfast to academic performance, because both vary in the same way with socioeconomic status[84], i.e. well-to-do parents have and spend time helping their children with academics, and they almost always serve breakfast.

cupsWhat I’m trying to do here is limit this discussion to what’s relevant—as opposed to giving credence to observational justification from every Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes down the fitness pike. Breakfast, simply stated, is definitely not the most important meal of the day, and you’d be better off skipping it. Although CBL and Carb Nite® both incorporate breakfast effectively by excluding carbs, I still tend to delay my first meal of the day for a few hours or more when using either of these strategies to lose fat.

I’d also be remiss here if I didn’t address branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). I’ve seen several articles suggesting BCAA intake instead of breakfast—specifically concerning leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Although I’m a huge proponent of leucine, this approach probably isn’t a very good idea. Even without the presence of glucose (which most amino acids need to help increase insulin release), leucine stimulates insulin release[85-86]—which is what we’re trying to avoid in the morning because it can cause the same reactions as a carb-laden breakfast.

Strength, power, and physique athletes often question the wisdom of skipping breakfast because of the strength considerations related to their sports. As long as your glycogen stores remain adequate[87-88], this will have little to no effect on your strength levels. That’s the magic of CBL, and one of the primary reasons why it’s so effective.

Skip carbs at breakfast. Skip breakfast altogether. This waste of a meal can keep you from burning fat, it can help store fat, it’ll lower your growth hormone levels, and the idea of it having any cognitive benefits is an urban legend—or, as I often say, just another pile of fitness industry BS. In reality, it’s the least important—and potentially most harmful to your physique—thing you can do all day.

 References (click to expand)

 

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  88. Ivy JL. Role of carbohydrate in physical activity. Clin Sports Med. 1999 Jul;18(3):469-84, v.

  • Stan

    And bomb goes the dynamite……when comes to eating breakfast. Thank You

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

      it’s BOOM.

      Boom goes the dynamite, not bomb.

      • Stan

        Not much to do in life uh. John, than be a picky little bitch?

        • Speaker-0to-Animals

          No need to get personal and abusive just because he corrected your incorrect English usage. Unless you somehow feel having your usage corrected was a personal attack. Some would consider it a favour.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kristin.raab Kristin Raab

            Sounds like y’all should have eaten some breakfast. .. just kiddin’

          • The Climax Warrior

            BOMB! BOOM! Still explosion metaphors correct? or i have stuff3d that up 2? John knew we all knew what Stan meant. So what! Thank you for being John a “Science rockets/English Country Gramma Poncey Idiot!!!” Keep life simple and the world would be a better place.

  • Jason Detwiler

    Kiefer, can you help me explain why I’m taking the coffee with Leucine, whey, and MCT in my pre-workout for AM training despite the Leucine related insulin response? If I remember correctly, you recommended it to kickstart the PWO insulin surge with the PWO shake and banana.

    • Travis Hudson

      I am also in this boat. I start the day off (4:45am) with this exact recipe before I hit the gym in the morning. Should I lay off the mixture until after 9ish or just lose it all together?

    • DHKiefer

      You’re training, which changes the hormonal landscape. The MCT helps to provide which ketone production for sustained performance (among other things) and helps to continue the early AM fat burning despite the insulin response that the leucine produce; the leucine minimizes the catabolic effect of training, as does the whey. You’re not providing any carbs to derail the cortisol response and the insulin “blip” immediately before training is inconsequential for men. For woman, the story is slightly different.

      • Jason Detwiler

        Thanks!

    • Daniel Santiago

      Im pretty sure even in the AM training the leucine is for PWO not pre

    • http://www.facebook.com/steven.myers Steven Myers

      I believe Kiefer states to have the Leucine post work out. The only thing in the morning you should have pre workout is caffeine and coconut oil.

  • Harout Abkarian

    Great article, I have one question..What about bullet proofing my coffee w. ONE tbsp of coconut oil and a scoop of RTN Whey, and cinnamon, then a couple hours later a quest bar full of fiber and has 3 net carbs. This is how I have my breakfast and was wondering if this would be optimal for burning fat through out the morning? I then skip eating until after my lift? Thanks.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=718571254 Jennifer Coulter

      If you are in fat burning mode you want to skip the whey first thing in the morning. Drop the quest bars too, you don’t count net carbs you count useable carbs (and the net carbs if I remember correctly are mislabeled on the quest bars). If you need a “protein bar” make your own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

    wow, OK. First, I was looking through your reference list, and that list is messed up. First off, there is not #65, 67, 68 and 69, so when you paraphrased this “Well, the first group, the one that ate most of their calories early on (including a huge carby breakfast), lost more weight than the second group[65].” OR “The second group—which, again, ate most of their calories at night—lost almost exclusively fat while preserving muscle[65-69]. ” your article references are missing. Also your reference list is numbered wrong. you have numbers repeating themselves lending reader who wish to read the journal papers, like myself, can’t because #xyz citation does match the reference list proved. Fix it.

    Second, why are you using studies from 1975 as the backbone to support not eating breakfast in the morning to retain lean muscle mass and achieve fat loss in a 1 week duration, you crazy?? Here’s my email account john.gregory.2012@gmail.com, email the scanned book from which this 1975, one week study shows this reasoning for not consuming breakfast. Serious email me and write some nasty insulting message and I’ll read your weak argument and the super old outdated study because you were too lazy to find another study remotely close or reproducing the same procedures as the 1975 paper, but done recently after 2000. COME AT ME BRO!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkV7xPkObn0

    • Matt

      Heres an idea John Gregory. Since you are so “sure” that there is more recent literature to support or not support Kiefers statements in this article then why dont YOU produce some scientific literature to support your beliefs. I think if anyone is lazy it would be YOU. YOU demand Kiefer scan and send you the article he cites–why dont YOU look them up yourself–and then demand that he find YOU more literature to support his statements–he just wrote you a fucking article. Learn some respect. If your have a problem dont just yell and complain. Come with a solution, which in this case would be YOUR own literature. I came….

      • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

        didnt write the article, dont have to find evidence to support someone else theory. the idea behind an article, is have the proper references to back up the authors conclusion. reference outdated studies shows poor academic skills.

      • Elizabeth San

        Actually, the rules of logic state that if someone states something as the truth (and in this case, we’re referring to the original article), and someone else asks them to provide evidence, the obligation is on the person who spoke first to prove their statement; if you have confidence that you are right, and can prove your point logically, the onus is on you to do so, not on everyone who questions you to prove you wrong. Just saying. (I know nothing about science, so I’m not saying anyone’s right or wrong. I’ve been skipping b reakfast my whole life, in spite of believing that it was necessary. It bothers me when I see this happen, though. All the guy did was ask for proper references, even if he did it in an aggressive way.)

    • DHKiefer

      First of all John, I have three suggestions:

      1) There are many decaffeinated brands of coffee on the market that are just as tasty–you seem high-strung, so I suggest you swtich.

      2) Maybe you should stop eating Cheerios for breakfast.

      3) Even if you don’t stop eating your Cheerios, at least find out who’s pissing in them.

      As per your complaint of research from 1975: does this imply that you believe “science” was different 30+ years ago? I’m sorry that government propaganda closed the door on this line of questioning that is just now being re-examined.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mikebernstein666 Michael Bernstein

        how about reference #75? Unlike gregory, I have the mental capacity to know that eating a carb-ridden breakfast is for idiots (given that the idiot is trying to gain lean muscle). Reference #75 says that a “balanced breakfast” produced higher scores on a standardized logical reasoning exam. I keep getting shot down by one of my roommates and I am having trouble finding definitive references in here proving your/my own anti-breakfast theories. Any specific reference in there that says that a balanced breakfast results in lessened cognitive function or no difference was statistically significant enough to draw a conclusion on balanced breakfast vs no breakfast? Help!

        • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

          who said his (author’s) theory didn’t have merit? I strongly said his (author’s) reference list and citations of evidence to support his theory is incorrect and some references being outdated.

      • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

        “does this imply that you believe “science” was different 30+ years ago?”

        Reply-> Yes, Science was different from 38 years ago to the present. Methods, Ethics, Procedures, how one interpreted the results.All have changed.

        “If you can find anything other than epidemiological, correlative studies to refute the experimental evidence above, please present them.”

        Reply-> Right, like I’m going to waste my time looking for evidence to change your mind over some weak a$$ internet article that can cite correctly, can’t reference correctly and finally uses fallacies to manoeuvre around the solid fact, your article lack evidence to support this conclusion.

        “And I can’t help but address the “COME AT ME BRO!!”: what is that? I interpret it as a sign of some form of mental incapacity, which helps explain your entire comment.”

        Reply-> Your interpretation is incorrect much like your article. The “come at me, bro” is a jest or expression used in the bodybuilding realm of the internet to psychologically force the reader into replying and/or defending the statements made in previous posts.

        P.S. Speaking of signs of some form of mental incapacity, anyone with high school education can reference and cite papers, looks to me as those you never fully developed mentally.

        https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/6551850240/h0C4DDFE5/

        • Stan

          This from a man with a “Health Science” degree working as an ASSISTANT Bank Manager aka as ‘glorified teller’

          • Anne

            Nice ad hominem attack. Whatever you wish to call him to take away from his point, he still made a good one.

      • maeishoj

        Well DHKiefer, something is not entirely correct.. If the raise in insulin is detrimental and that’s why you should not eat carbs at breakfast, you kind forgot to mention something QUITE IMPORTANT, which is that ANYTHING you eat will raise insulin! Let’s say you have a protein shake for breakfast… (Especially) Whey protein is VERY insulinogenic.

        • maphoo

          This issue is addressed in the carbbackloading book.

          • Telmo

            I would like to know the answer for that. What about eating a protein shake with/without milk at breakfast? Would it be a good breakfast? What about the insulin levels? Thanks in advance!

      • Shawn

        “As per your complaint of research from 1975: does this imply that you believe “science” was different 30+ years ago? I’m sorry that government propaganda closed the door on this line of questioning that is just now being re-examined.”
        Suppressed evidence fallacy
        “And I can’t help but address the “COME AT ME BRO!!”: what is that? I interpret it as a sign of some form of mental incapacity, which helps explain your entire comment.”
        Psychological projection fallacy

      • GPS

        I have to agree with John Gregory. References from 1975 are no longer credible. I was interested in what you had to offer, but this response just gave me all the explanation I needed.

        Science has changed incredibly over the past 40 years. Ethics for one has increased, new discoveries have been found. Trust me, I work in a university as a researcher.

        Who would send their kid to school without breakfast? A very small percentage I would guess.

        • DHKiefer

          To think that “science” was different in 1975 compared with today is asinine. They had valid criteria as to what needed to be shown and tools capable of meeting that criteria. We may have more advanced and accessible means of measuring things, but measuring weight loss and body fat percentage does not require advanced quantum mechanical devices for accurate quantitative comparison between the two protocols. It’s almost as if the argument is: well, the idea of “weight” was completely different in 1975 and today, when we say “weight” we mean the color of someone’s hair. As a researcher, you should be aware of this.

          And, as to the ethics argument, I’m unclear why that has any application here whatsoever. There were ethical criteria that had to be met, then as today. It was met. Also, there seems to be the implication that somehow this study may have been “unethical” and therefore moot. Please provide the breakdown in ethical protocol that would taint these results.

    • Daniel Santiago

      he answered on the FB post:
      Dangerously Hardcore Missing reference: http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ijo2012229a.html

      • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

        yep, I know and I read that whole paper, but thats not the paper the author cited for this article. Take note, I never said he was wrong, only that his references/citations were messed up. If you’re going to write an article for the bodybuilding community, bring your A-game.

    • Brandon Christ

      Just because a study is old doesn’t mean it’s invalid. Anyways, I highly doubt Kiefer is going to bother sending you that email.

      • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

        Sure is does, because no one can view said paper/study to confirm any of its merits. Furthermore, studies from the 1970 are used as introduction starters not core principles for the article being written. 1970 studies for the nutritional community, used today have too many limitations to be considered a quality academic paper.

  • OJMDC

    I haven’t eaten breakfast for about 3 years. I first read, the Fast 5 diet, then Leangains, Carbnite, and Carb back loading.
    I have days where I am hungry in the morning and days where I’m not but I wait until lunch and have high protein only meal and save the carbs for the evening. I’m currently 6ft 230lbs.

    • Breakfast

      6 ft 230 lbs = FAT. Eating breakfast to drop a few lbs and live a little longer

      • JJ

        You think 6ft tall and 230lbs = fat? You must not know where the weight room is.

  • Felipe Bocca

    Will be further comments on the role of Coffe or Coffeine in this cortisol/GH behaviour at morning?

  • Mike

    Kiefer,
    I always have protein in the morning with MCT then some coffee. My concern is that the BCAA profile in the protein is hindering my fat burning hormones. In CBL you suggest taking whey isolate in the morning with coffee to stave off a catabolic state in my muscle. With this new BCAA statement above, should I hold off for a few hours before taking my first protein shake and just start with MCT and coffee when I wake up?

    • Steve Kiely

      If Fat loss is your goal then probably YES hold off for a couple of hours before having the am accelerator. However it is only 10g that is suggested to be taken in order to offset this response so for some people it is ok and for others not so much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/patric.n.gorgievski Patric N Gorgievski

    Is it ok if I just take caffeine in the morning ( Im not a fan of coffee so I take anhydrous caps)…Also any natural supplements for ATP produced energy?
    -P.S. There’s Great Info on DH.com!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gibdan Daniel Gibney

    Hey Kiefer,
    Love reading your material. Just a quick question. My training time is generally 4pm. Been doing CBL for a couple months now.
    Basically set up is like this.
    Wake up 6am
    7am coffee
    9am egg bacon fish oil
    1045am leucine
    Noon steak fish oil
    2pm leucine
    4pm train
    545pm post w/ 40g carb
    645pm backload
    845pm casein/cottage cheese

    Does that fit in the structure of skipping breakfast while maintaining that 12 hour fast and keeping in that anabolic state, as I don’t bother with the shake. appreciate your work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mladen.stoychev.1 Mladen Stoychev

    Thank you for the article, Kiefer. It’s good to, finally, see you around. Don’t make us wait too long for next biojacked and/or youtube content. Ignore the “bro” comments, stupidity infinite.

  • Peter Scarpelli

    Good article and the science part made more sense to me this time. Look out, I may just be getting more competent at science jargon! Of course seeing how I used to pass along the “bro science” of how important breakfast is/was, I am a bit embarrassed. I think that is one of the things about CBL that I appreciate – it has motivated me to research more and regurgitate less (if that makes sense). Of course I do need to go back and re read the last couple paragraphs because once I saw those eggs in bacon cups I could not concentrate any longer!

  • http://www.facebook.com/thinkingvirus Mitch Skinner

    With everything you write about breakfast… you still get people who post videos like this. https://www.facebook.com/maria.j.nadal.7 lol CBL and CNS isn’t that hard. lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/cesar.sotarrivas Cesar Del Callejo Sotarrivas

    Great Article!!! Hard for me at the beginning, to get use to skiping breakfast, but it made a huge difference on my belly, I can see my abs now,just by having coffe and mct oil after waking up and have breakfast 3 hours after, CBL the best diet ever,, forget the Hulk you turn in to a “Monster” at the gym with this diet! Thank you Kiefer

  • Craig Jones

    I seriously can’t remember ever eating any breakfast anymore. A distant memory. And so is the fat that surrounded my arse. Take note ‘ John Gregory’

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.gregory.167189 John Gregory

      correcting his referencing/citations not the theory behind it. Take note Craig.

  • Mark

    Whenever people ask me why I’m not eating breakfast, I always just shrug because I can’t be bothered to get into a conversation about it. The shrug usually then leads to a mini-lecture about the virtues of breakfast.

    I usually respond with another shrug, and an internal monologue which tells me that in fact I *have* just eaten breakfast; I’ve just feasted on the delicious irony of an overweight individual lecturing a man who can see his abdominal muscles about what they should be eating.

    I actually said that out loud to someone once, they weren’t AT ALL impressed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.h.baughn Lisa Hayes Gandara Baughn

      lol~ good one

    • Elizabeth San

      Well, that’s a very dick-ish thing to say, correct or not, justified or not, so I hope you weren’t *surprised* that you didn’t impress them.

    • demjules

      quite correct i say (“,)

  • Clara E

    Hey Kiefer,

    So, just want to be clear.

    Don’t eat breakfast [or at least not carbs], but make sure you don’t go more than 12 hours without eating.

    So really, your first meal of the day should be 12 hours after your last meal from the night before?

    And coffee and cream I’m very much assuming does not count?

    If this is the case, I think I’ve actually been waiting too long before eating my first meal of the
    day.

    Help! :)

    Thanks!

    • DHKiefer

      Coffee and cream, potentially don’t count. Coffee and MCT oil (or coconut oil) do count for sure.

      As per the 12 hour window, I normally recommend people eat right before bed, so that normally means they can “skip” breakfast, or push it off substantially.

      If you have no performance goals, then regularly going more than the 14 hour max without food will not have significant consequences.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elysianite James Castaneda

    Breakfast!!!
    …I always suspected you of being deceptive scum!

  • Skinny Guy

    So what about for a (serious) hardgainer who lifts 3 times a week around 9 or 10 am? I am following Jason Ferruggia’s method, which has been helping me gain consistently for the first time.

    I feel like if I don’t eat anything for breakfast I will skip an important meal that is difficult to replace (I mean in terms of calories)

    • DHKiefer

      This may absolutely be the case. You may have a metabolism or a training program that requires a caloric load that you can’t possibly get without adding an extra meal. I include a “breakfast” in many of my athletes’ programs, particularly those with high work loads or large amounts of muscle mass or both.

  • Andrew

    Although you make some valid points in your article, I think you telling people to skip breakfast all together is crazy. Yes it may help someone reach a certain physique while on one of your programs but for the average person…… They need it. Sure the Atkins diet helps people lose weight but that doesn’t mean it is healthy or that a person should eat like that forever, just ask the people who suffered kidney failure from that diet. If you take carbs away from your body you will build up carb sensitivity which will cause you to later gain weight when you eat like a normal person should. This no breakfast may work if someone wants to look like a bodybuilder or whatever the desired physique you promote but bodybuilders are some of the unhealthiest people out there. Bottom line you should make it clearer that breakfast skipping is “ok” on your “program” but is all together not a healthy lifestyle choice. I do have a degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences so I know a little about the way our bodies work. Also appearance may be the only concern for some which in that case do whatever you want to get chiseled but as for performance that’s a different story, keeping things from your body and pumping it full of supplements is not the answer. I’m 6ft, 170 pounds, can bench 300+ pounds and can run 2 miles in 13 mins, just to name a few things…. Am I as ripped as you prob not but can I out perform you in endurance, agility and all around pound for pound strength probably and I eat breakfast everyday:)

    • Thomas James

      IIRC Kiefer can bench 400+ and has run a mile in under 5 minutes, just to put things in perspective for you.

      • DHKiefer

        And biked 100+ miles in under 5 hours. Don’t forget that one…

    • Fred

      People suffered kidney failure due to being on the Atkins diet??? Do you have any references for that?

    • http://www.facebook.com/rob.beyerlein Rob Beyerlein

      There is not a single study in the published literature that corroborates the claim that a high protein diet causes kidney dysfunction in individuals who do not have a prior renal disease process…not one. As a fellow member of the science degree community (BSN, doctoral candidate in Nurse Anesthesia)…please don’t use bro-science and then try to validate via your credentials. The kidney disease claim is as much garbage as the saturated fat causes arteriosclerosis claim…the science does not support either of them.

      “If you take carbs away from the body you will build up carb sensitivity.” You have a health science degree? In ketogenic diets, if you immediately go from <30g of CHO to say 200-300 a day without some kind of taper you will likely put a lot of water weight back on. Why? Because of glycogen depletion, this has nothing to do with any type of sensitivity. So either you were trying to dumb it down so other people reading would follow or you actually think that not eating carbs for breakfast is going to downregulate GLUT translocation so much that its going to cause some kind of transient metabolic syndrome…I hope its the former and not the latter.

      Read any of the references cited by Martin Berkhan on the fallacy of needing breakfast. Kiefer isn't even telling people to fast for 16-18h, he's saying if you get up at 7am, don't eat until 9 or 10am, eat high protein/fat early on, then add carbs later. This is not new information, Berardi has espoused this for years and most people don't call his carb tapering protocol crazy. Also, if you refer to the literature on calorie restriction, you will find that improvements in serum GH, reductions in inflammation, etc. are accomplished either with a low carb diet or intermittent fasting. This is especially the case in neurobiology that deals with the formation of neuronal plaques, ketosis is neuroprotective. Furthermore, if you are not a person who resistance trains, you require even less carbohydrates than what is being talked about on this site.

      Lastly, no one cares about your stats. You may have those numbers in spite of and not because of your nutrition. The bit about being a better athlete and measuring your e-penis doesn't make your arguments any better either.

      • jststopinby

        Wiseman, M. J., Hunt, R., Goodwin, A., Gross, J. L., Keen, H., & Viberti, G. (2008). Dietary composition and renal function in healthy subjects. Nephron,46(1), 37-42.

    • DHKiefer

      Nobody “needs” breakfast. That’s a completely fallacious statement.

  • Throstur

    I was reading article about muscle recovery last week in my studies, that cortisol can inhibit muscle protein synthesis…. wich can lead to decreased in muscle mass…. And that article is from 2011. I can try to find it again.
    And another thing.. never go to gym and train without some little breakfast.. So you have more energy, and won’t faint because of low glucose levels.. I am a trainer at a gym, and I have seen people faint because of that. Banana would help alot. And if you are going to pump the iron, eat some protein rich food also. :)

    • DHKiefer

      I have worked with world caliber athletes and many times they train in the morning without breakfast. Your body can do an excellent job of maintaining energy substrate levels (glucose and ketones) at a rate that prevents them from passing out. Having a small amount of carbs pre morning workout could, however, cause glycemic distress and force someone to experience transitory hypoglycemia.

  • Hannah Hill

    I just read your book, Carb Night Solution, and i must say it was fantastic. Today is my first day on the prep phase, which is not unlike most other days for me. I have been incorporating more proteins in today, which previously i was lacking. Anywho, i have a question about the actual carb night. Im very conscious about what i put into my body, and really want to steer clear of bleached flours, processed sugar, and other treats most prefer to indulge in on carb night. I also have Hashimotos autoimmune disease, and i find my condition to remain under control when i stay away from these. So my question is, is it ok for me to load up on things like potatoes(white or sweet?), maybe some ezekial bread, and better-quality cereals? Im also a very active female, heavy squatting, df, cleans, etc, with HIIT 4 days a week. Also, you mentioned keeping carb night low fat for those wanting to loose more lbs. Would sauteing potatoes in coconut oil or organic butter be too fatty? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

  • A.M

    What about Creatine pre early am workout? any spikes with that?

    • DHKiefer

      No spikes to worry about.

      • Sam

        So is MCT being classed as “breakfast”? It the AM Accelerator an exception?

  • I.F’er

    I just posted this article on my Facebook profile and was immediately reminded (since I am a social work student) that using the term Transvestite is a derogatory term and Transgender is the correct use of the word. I do love your article and support the premise of it but incase any of your fans are members of the trans community it might be beneficial to correct the language usage. here is a great resource. http://revelandriot.com/resources/lgbtq-and-trans-definitions
    Again, love your philosophy, just a heads up :)

    • Elizabeth San

      But transvestite and transgender mean different things (I am also a Social Worker). A transgendered person is someone who identifies with the opposite gender; a transvestite is someone who wears clothing specific to the opposite gender (and then, of course, there are a few more terms worth pointing out, such as transsexual, which refers to a transgendered person who has begun the process of a physical sex change, intersex, which refers to someone possessing both sex organs, and cross dresser, which I’ve heard people use specifically for someone who dresses in the opposite gender’s clothing for the purposes of entertainment, and not necessarily because they identify with that gender). None of these terms is offensive, when used correctly, and as long as the individual being described is okay with having that term applied to them, of course.

    • DHKiefer

      No it’s not. A transvestite is (generally) a man who dresses like a woman, but has no desire for sexual reassignment surgery. Someone who is transgender has gone through extensive hormonal therapy to change sex and, possibly, surgery (pre-op vs. post-op). If the ignorance rate weren’t so high about the full spectrum of sexuality that exists in this world, there’d be less of these comments and more that are germane to the content of the article.

  • ellisnate64

    Check out leangains.com This blog (yes… free blog) has tons of articles backing up why breakfast is your enemy. My brother and I started this type of program a year ago and it has worked wonders for both of us. Intermittent fasting has been the easiest way to control my weight and bodyfat levels since I filled out at 21 years old.

  • SNL

    I have read multiple articles you have written and I agree 100%… Will you be my trainer? :)

  • Maria

    So for how long should I wait to eat something in the morning?

  • Amanda

    Do you think taking CytoGreens and vitamin supplements count as “breakfast”? Should I wait a few hours before having those too?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.h.baughn Lisa Hayes Gandara Baughn

    Reading the article and some of the comments, I will say something that while yes, is mostly observational, it’s also from some personal experience & knowledge. My husband never eats or wants breakfast. He sometimes doesn’t eat until late afternoon or dinner and will eat up until bedtime. He remains thin. He has found if he eats before noon, without fail he gains. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and work at a weight loss clinic, one thing I know is people are all different! Yes, we all have heart, lungs, etc. the same, but the people react differently to drugs, foods, etc. So a one regimen overall blanket approach to healt is much too simplistic. I have many patients that tell me they don’t like to eat breakfast and never have. Some have even gone so far to say they are nauseated by it! Not everybody mind you. I tell them, so don’t eat it! They always look at me in shock..lol.. It reminds me of a lecture by my A&P professor many years ago..he said, if we truly only ate when physiologically hungry and stopped when satisfied, not stuffed, we wouldn’t have weight problems.. the body knows what it needs. This of course doesn’t take in the obviously unhealthy processed foods so prevalent in our society, which I don’t endorse. The human body is an amazing thing, and last but not least, the old adage, “everything in moderation” has a lot of merit… An occasional “bad” food doesn’t completely derail our efforts, rather the continuous, excessive consumption that has cumulative negative consequences. :)

  • Guest

    i want to know what you wrote back to john

  • AshleighYaya

    You guys. He is just saying wait longer than you normally would to have breakfast. Call any meal you want anyTHING you want just wait a few hours and preferably get moving in the morning. For me this has all rung true, even before reading. I know that I have gained muscle and lost fat more regularly if the first thing I eat is about 3 hours after I wake up and work out. I feel more alert, my workout is more focused, and I eat better foods. Everyone is different, but the basic point is let your body fully wake up and do it’s thing before refueling.

  • Alice

    I hope no one takes this article seriously. This is false (and potentially dangerous) information. I have a Masters in Nutrition Science and a Masters in Human Health. You obviously do not understand how the body works.

    • jEsUs

      “You are not in field, therefore you’re incapable of properly educating yourself on any topic in-field.”

      Since you value observations instead of objective experimental evidence, allow me to provide you one of my own: You seem like a moron, Alice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rob.beyerlein Rob Beyerlein

      Dangerous…do you think people are going to keel over and die from skipping breakfast?Newsflash, alternate day fasting studies have been conducted for decades, no fatalities yet and Kiefer is only advocating for the first couple hours after rising to be fasted, so we’re talking a whole 10 hours for the average person, please again (with actual citations) provide some data on how such a protocol is actually dangerous. The hypoglycemia claim will be garbage, because we have numerous studies on fasting and unless you have pre-existing hypoglycemia, fasting isn’t going to just cause it out of the blue. And wait for it…oh yea, Ramadan…shall we consider the studies done on Muslims (especially the athletes) and their blood work, performance, etc. with fasting. As I mentioned to another contributor who used their credentials as proof of a valid argument, just because you have a degree doesn’t make you an expert, maybe you squeaked by with a B and needed to be tutored on the important things like biochem, no one knows, no one cares. Appeals to authority are the academic version of broscience, without data, your argument is meaningless.

  • Kevin

    Sorry if I missed this throughout the comments but I lift every morning for about 50 minutes at 6 am.(its the only time I can get to the gym). Im at 10%BF and 200lbs, with a goal of 200lbs and 7%BF. When would you recommend I first eat?

  • maphoo

    lol

  • Gabby

    I am a model and i have 4 and half months (Till fashion week/season in September) to lose 20 lbs, drop 2 inches in my waist and thighs and even lose a bit of muscle mass (not much just the bare minimum) how should I approach this?? you said the people who ate breakfast lost weight and muscle but didnt lose fat whereas the ones who skipped breakfast burned more fat and retained more muscle. Seeing as I am trying to both lose fat AND muscle Im not sure what to do.

    • DHKiefer

      Read Carb Nite. It will get weight off of you faster than anything else while keeping you healthy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/olivia.macdonell.1 Olivia MacDonell

    So would you say it’s good to wake up and workout( I like to do low intensity cardio in the morning and weight training in the afternoon) and then eat a low carb breakfast. And if I don’t work out, how long do I wait to eat?

    • DHKiefer

      Exercise upon waking on an empty stomach is a good thing for several reasons.

      Unfortunately your next question is not as straight forward. I recommend that people eat immediately before bed. There’s also reasons to believe you should never fast longer than 12 to 14 hours maximum. So, if you eat at 10pm at night, your first meal could be anywhere between 10 am and noon. If your last meal was at 8pm, then you’d want to eat somewhere between 8am and 10am.

  • http://gigieatscelebrities.com/ GiGi Eats Celebrities

    I don’t eat breakfast because it just doesn’t settle well with my stomach, but now I am HAPPY about that! Ha!

  • NoSkinnies

    Great article. I have always liked to save the breakfast calories for later during the day as I am the most hungry in the late afternoon and evenings but because of all of the hype over eating breakfast because it is the “most important” meal of the day I have continued to eat breakfast – usually high protein cereal with fruit. I’m gonna give this no breakfast thing a try.

  • Destiney

    I have to disagree, I eat 6 to 7 small 160-200 calorie meals a day to keep my glucose levels from spiking and without breakfast I would be sick, sometimes it is just a piece of ostrim jerky in the morning and sometimes I have egg whites mixed with veggies and I can say it’s done me well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501715081 Farasha Hanem

    Dear DH Kiefer:
    FACT: It is healthier for others around me for me to eat breakfast. If I do not have breakfast, your chances of dying increase by 100%, so if you wish to remain healthy yourself, LET ME EAT MY BREAKFAST IN PEACE!!! >:/

    • DHKiefer

      Your point is well taken…and thanks for the warning. Cheers.

  • babypanda

    I just read this article quickly. I’m not going to try to debate the science because I’m admittedly ignorant of the science behind these claims. However, I don’t plan to skip breakfast any time soon. I read somewhere that it’s healthy to not eat breakfast as soon as waking up, but a little later in the morning. This seems more reasonable (although not always possible) than skipping breakfast altogether. Ultimately, I think we should listen to our bodies and if we’re hungry, we need to eat. And it’s rare that I can tolerate not eating breakfast and not feel hungry before lunch. I sometimes skip dinners because I don’t feel hungry. I would say it’s bad advice just to tell people to skip breakfast every day. And does the article mention blood sugar levels at all? Honestly, I would feel faint if I didn’t eat in the morning. So, I will continue to listen to my body when deciding when I should and shouldn’t eat.

  • http://twitter.com/JessLovesAll Jessica Collette

    Conclusion: People get super pissed when you try to take their breakfast away from them.

  • Prescott

    Thats a great idea… Lets let our cortisol levels(the “stress” hormone) raise all night and then wake up with a -plan- to keep it raising by tricking our bodies into thinking that we are starving… This way when we actually eat instead of burning off the calories luxuriously we store them and remain in a low energy state of being. You want to know why the kids who ate breakfast had a harder time sitting still and paying attention to their boring teachers? Its because they had so much energy!

  • ZK

    Hello.
    I am a kinesiology major. I was reading your article and found it very entertaining. I have learned some things that are a little different. For example. The article says that you stop burning fat when you eat breakfast. I have been told that you stop burning fat when you start to move. You burn the most fat laying still. The first energy system to kick in during exercise is ATP-PCr followed my Beta oxidation using FFA. Third is glycolysis, because your body wants to save carbs. If your body is low on carbs it will produce them from other things such as protein and fat. Weather you eat carbs or not you body will still find a way to get them. According to my professor.
    ZK

    • DHKiefer

      What was taught to you about the energy systems is not complete and can lead to misleading statements. Check out this reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11547894 (I highly recommend getting the full article).

      Also, there is a big difference between burning fat via beta-oxidation and (the more important goal in this case) mobilizing fatty acids from adipose tissue to then be burned for beta-oxidation.