In today's article, we'll look at the scientifically proven connection between skipping breakfast and bone loss. You'll learn how starting your day with a healthy meal impacts your bone density, muscle mass, and even your mood.
Then, we share two make-ahead breakfast recipes that include plant protein, fiber-rich fruits, and complex, nutrient-rich carbohydrates. But before we start meal-prepping, let's take a look at the basics of breakfast and bone health.
Breakfast And Your Bones
A study conducted in Japan examined the relationship between skipping breakfast, nutrient intake, and bone mineral density. The researchers found that participants who skipped breakfast more than three times a week had significantly lower hip BMD than participants who didn't skip those meals.1
The study's authors concluded that skipping breakfast causes low BMD because it results in lower nutrient intake.1
This result aligns with what we already know about building stronger bones: you must supply your body with the right nutrients so that it can carry out the bone remodeling process.
Breakfast is the meal that breaks overnight fasting. Between dinner and breakfast, you might be going 12 or 14 hours without eating. Since sleep slows your metabolism while the body focuses on repair and rest, you have the nutrients you need overnight. But once you're awake and become active again, you need to eat so that your body has enough energy to function properly- and that includes the function of building bone.
Skipping breakfast was linked to low BMD in a study of Japanese women. Your body needs the nutrients provided by a healthy breakfast to build bone.
Muscle, Exercise, And Breakfast
Skipping breakfast has cascading consequences for your bones. Not only does it deprive the bone-building process itself of essential nutrients, but it also results in lower muscle mass.2
A study conducted in 2018 on 270 healthy young subjects examined the correlation between skeletal muscle mass and habitual breakfast intake frequency over the course of a month. The researchers found that “skipping breakfast is a risk factor for lower muscle mass in healthy young subjects, irrespective of strong confounders, such as age, sex, and physical activity.”2
Muscle mass contributes to bone development. Weight-bearing exercise increases muscle strength that applies positive stress on bone, stimulating new bone formation, as described by Wolff's Law.3 Reduced muscle mass is one more way that skipping breakfast hurts your bones.
Another study found that eating breakfast enhanced feelings of relaxation and was beneficial for appetite control before lunch, regardless of the size of the breakfast.4
Stress-reduction helps to control levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Cortisol has a negative effect on bone mass.5 Appetite control gives you greater ability to resist the temptation of an unhealthy snack or sweet treat. These two facts alone make breakfast a bone-healthy habit.
Skipping breakfast is a risk factor for lower muscle mass, which reduces the efficacy of your bone-building exercises. Eating breakfast reduces stress and helps to control appetite, both of which have positive effects on your body and your bones.
Bone Healthy Breakfasts That Won't Slow Down Your Morning
Taken together, the effects of eating breakfast are a boon for bone health.
However, during a hectic week or a day that starts extra early, it can be difficult to add additional time to your morning for meal prep. Fortunately, breakfast is a meal with excellent make-ahead options. Try these two recipes that you can keep in the refrigerator for up to four days or freeze as individual servings.
You can change out the fruit and toppings to create endless variations of these dishes, so they'll never get old!
Quinoa And Berries
- 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon honey (if not sweet enough, add stevia powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For topping use slivered almonds, walnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds over a dollop of plain yogurt.
- While oven preheats to 350ºF, stir and combine all ingredients in a 2-quart baking dish and place in the oven.
- Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked and the center does not look wet.
- Cool for a minimum of 15 minutes, and top with the yogurt and nuts and/or seeds.
Quinoa And Bananas
- 11/2 cups bananas (about 4 bananas), mashed
- 1 tablespoon honey (if not sweet enough, add stevia powder)
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup quinoa uncooked
- 11/4 cups almond or coconut milk, unsweetened
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- Sliced mango, peach, or nectarine for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place all the ingredients except the quinoa, almond milk, and walnuts in a baking pan and mix them well.
- Add in the quinoa and stir until it is evenly distributed in the mixture.
- Using a whisk, pour the almond milk and mix until well combined.
- Bake until all the liquid is absorbed for about 50 to 60 minutes.
- Allow to cool. When ready to serve, top with the sliced fruit of your choice and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Make Every Meal A Bone-Builder
Skipping breakfast, as the studies above demonstrate, is detrimental to your bones, reduces your muscle mass, and it also negatively affects your mood. These make-ahead recipes provide the perfect way to care for your bones on the earliest and busiest mornings or whenever you simply don’t want to spend time in the kitchen before breakfast.
Planning ahead to ensure you're making bone-healthy choices is essential for maintaining a pH-balanced diet, and to build stronger bones. If you'd like some help planning meals and putting together a dietary plan, try Bone Appetit, the Save Institute's recipe book and meal planner. In addition to the more than 200 recipes, Bone Appetit also contains a 30 Day Meal Planner. It's a valuable resource for anyone trying to build stronger bones and live a full, healthy, and delicious life!
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
Comments on this article are closed.
Could you please give your opinion on Kombutcha. It is considered to be good bacteria for gut health. Could you drink Kombutcha on a daily basis and is it good for bone health?
Also, can you drink kefir milk on a daily basis.
I joined a long time ago and wondered if you have an updated book or hasn’t there been enough changes for mine to be outdated? Also I wondered if you recommend taking collagen, my sister in law takes some for her joints so I thought they might help mine and would be good for bones but I’m not sure how to choose one. I read you take a multi vitamin, I only take individual supplements figuring I get the basics from food but am thinking of adding one, which do you take?
My supplement regime is Calcium + Vit D3 + Magnesium + Zinc Orotate + Vit K2 Mk-4 and Mk-7. I have to take supps as I am taking daily antacids which can inhibit absorption of vital vits & minerals. If I had to recommend just one it would be Vit K2. Its difficult to get a natural supply and K2 keeps calcium deposited in your bones where its needed and prevents it from being deposited in arteries where its not. Vit K2 Mk-4 is the treatment prescribed for osteoporosis in Japan. Some say you only need Vit K Mk-7, but you need both actually. I buy Sports Research K2 Mk-4, one softgel per day is sufficient, and Thorne Research liquid K2 Mk-4. The Mk-4 is expensive at around 70$ or more for one bottle, but one drop per day gives 1,000mcg which is enough and the bottle lasts ages…had mine for one year and still some left. Your body can’t store K2 so a daily supply is necessary.
Sorry, I made an error. It should be Sports Research Vit K2-Mk-7 (not Mk-4).
I am also doing intermittent fasting and doing it everyday. I am a vegetarian and being an Indian ..my diet consist of rice and vegetables. I do have lots of tropical fruits too.
I am worried about by Bone Density after reading your article. Kindly advise me.
Dying to do breakfast have everything bar quinoa cant wait to get some tomorrow.Great change from porridge thank you Vivian looking forward to it.
Great info -thanks. I’m 85, in rehab after hip surgery. Any specific dietary ideas to heal fractures, screws, etc.?
That’s great, thank you! Glad to know I’m on the right track because I’ve been eating this way for a while and the ‘ole five-year Dexa comes up next month. I just never thought about not getting enough nutrients.
..thank you so much Ms.Goldschmidt…
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting and having only a 10 or 12 hour feeding window about two days a week. Fasting has been shown to have many benefits, especially in detoxification and weight maintenance, as I’m sure you’re aware, but now I’m second guessing this in relation to bone building. If I’m eating well in that window with good supplementation, do you think two days a week could do me more harm than good? What is your opinion of fasting in general in regards to bone building? I feel so good when I do this and it has worked wonders, but now I feel like now this may not be the way to go.
Any good diet can improve your overall health issues. Prevention is better than cure. Thanks for the diet plan and writing such valuable post. Keep writing.