Surely, you’ve heard the expression ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. But just because you're encouraged to eat in the morning, doesn’t mean that you are hungry when you wake up. In fact, for some people, eating a whole plate of bacon and eggs, or even just grabbing a bagel with cream cheese in the morning is a real challenge. If this applies to you you may be wondering ‘If eating in the morning is so important, why do I not feel hungry?’
More often than not, a lack of appetite in the morning is perfectly normal and not a cause for concern. Here are 5 possible reasons, according to health experts.
1. You ate a large dinner or had a late-night snack
One of the most common reasons people don’t feel hungry when they wake up is that they ate a large meal the night before. This is especially true if you ate a meal that’s high in fat or protein. These microproteins can keep you feeling full for longer - even into the next morning.
In general, nutritionists advise eating dinner at least three hours before you go to bed. A heavy meal right before bedtime can disrupt your sleep as the body is working hard to digest it. But what if you moved your dinner to an earlier hour and still wake without an appetite? According to Healthline, if this is the case, and you prefer to skip or delay breakfast, that’s perfectly fine. Just make sure to get the nutrients and hydration you need throughout the day.
Related: 10 Foods That Should Be Avoided In the Morning
2. Mental stress
When you are stressed, the brain releases chemicals like adrenaline into the body, which reduce or slow down your digestion rate. For that reason, anxiety and depression can significantly impact your hunger levels.
However, these conditions affect people differently. Some studies have found that people with anxiety or depression actually experienced increased appetite. We’ve all had to deal with a disruption in our usual routines, uncertainty, and stress in the past year. If you feel your mental state is affecting your appetite (for example, you started skipping breakfast), talk to a healthcare professional to discuss the best course of treatment for you.
3. Hormonal fluctuations
If the reason you don’t feel like eating in the morning is that you often wake up nauseous, it likely has to do with your hormones. According to nutritionist Bridget Bennett, during sleep, the levels of several hormones in our body fluctuate, which can affect our appetite.
In particular, research shows that levels of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, tend to be higher in the morning. Besides giving you a boost of energy, this hormonal surge may be one culprit for mild nausea in the morning. These daily hormonal fluctuations are perfectly normal and not a cause for concern.
4. Certain medications
Loss of appetite is a common side effect of many medications, including some blood pressure medications, diuretics, and antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics don't differentiate between “good and bad” bacteria. So it’s vital to restore a healthful balance in the gut microbiome after finishing the course of your prescribed antibiotics. If you experience loss of appetite after starting a long-term medication, notify your doctor.
Should I eat if I’m not feeling hungry?
Generally, you shouldn’t eat when you are not hungry. If you are interested in turning breakfast into a habit, nutritionist Rania Batayneh suggests drinking water in the morning. It’s a great habit that helps your metabolism get going, alongside other health benefits. Another tip is to eat a small snack like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. It will start your metabolism, and you will feel hungry for breakfast in about an hour or so. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you maintain a healthy diet throughout the day.
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