“Can't” Eat Breakfast in the Morning? Here’s Why.

“Can’t” Eat Breakfast in the Morning? Here’s Why.

So – you can’t eat breakfast in the morning, right? We are constantly told that we need to eat breakfast in order to have optimal health. There are studies that show that eating breakfast helps keep our metabolism firing, helps us to moderate our intake of food throughout the day and gives us that first burst of energy to get up and go.

But what if you simply have no appetite? What if the single thought of breakfast makes you feel queasy?

Don’t worry – you are not alone.

Some people have reported trouble with eating first thing in the morning, in fact, some people totally skip breakfast. There have been many studies done on this, some showing that around 50% of people totally skip breakfast and eat nothing before lunch.

There are many people who say, “I am a huge fan of breakfast and I find it hard to imagine those who simply can’t eat breakfast! Sometimes it’s the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning!” Many people think of themselves as “morning people” but if you aren’t, there are many strategies you can take to make your morning routine easier. How much you eat at night and how long you sleep for might all have an impact on whether or not you can eat the most important meal of the day. Let’s see why.

Studies on why you can’t eat breakfast

can't eat breakfast

A University of Missouri study examined the practice of eating breakfast in 2011. The study found that eating a healthy, protein-rich breakfast, can give you more energy, increases your satiety (how satisfied you feel) and reduces your hunger throughout the day, meaning that snacking was not as prevalent.

Do you sometimes feel nauseous or sick in the mornings? Read this post Why do I feel sick in the morning? | 7 tips to stop nausea before breakfast for a few more tips, or watch the video below!

Interestingly, the study also used functional magnetic resonance imaging which showed that, “using the researchers found that eating a protein-rich breakfast reduces the brain signals controlling food motivation and reward-driven eating behaviour.” The study was interesting because it followed several groups of teens who either skipped breakfast, or ate “500 calorie breakfast meals containing cereal and milk (which contained normal quantities of protein) or higher protein meals prepared as Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt.”

When they compared the groups, both groups that ate breakfast felt more alert and more satisfied. However, the protein-rich group did the best: “The higher protein breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and reward-driven eating behaviour compared to the normal
protein breakfast.”

So, why can’t I physically eat breakfast in the morning?

I know many people who insist that they can’t eat breakfast. If this is you then can I suggest one simple thing? The reason you cannot eat breakfast is because you are eating too much at night.

There is some truth to the expression, “Eat like a king at breakfast, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” If you make sure that your dinner is light, then believe me, you will wake up hungry, wanting to eat. Do you sometimes feel nauseous or sick in the mornings? Read this post Why do I feel sick in the morning? | 7 tips to stop nausea before breakfast for a few more tips!

Here are some tips fixing the “I can’t eat breakfast” problem

  1. Eat a light dinner only
  2. Get plenty of fluid during the day, but stop drinking water two hours before bed
  3. Have breakfast stuff at home OR leave enough time to get something on the way to work
  4. Get into a routine, leave yourself enough time
  5. Work out what you like to eat for breakfast. Eggs? Toast? Cereal? Try new things, see what works
  6. Still can’t eat? Go for a walk or run and see how you feel
  7. Still, still can’t eat? Try a smoothie or a yoghurt, then have some toast a little later
  8. Make breakfast ‘you’ time. Do something you love, like read the paper or check your horoscope
  9. Listen to your body
  10. Give it a try! Stick with your program for a week and see how you go!

Are there people who say “Breakfast is NOT good for you”? Are you kidding me?

There are some interesting theories that eating breakfast is actually NOT good for you! I found a muscle-building site that seems to think that eating breakfast is not as necessary as people make it out to be. Blogger Mehdi gives seven reasons why breakfast is a waste of time. I think most of these reasons are pretty ridiculous, but here’re a few of his reasons:

  • Breakfast doesn’t increase our metabolism
  • Breakfast increases your hunger
  • Breakfast impairs your concentration
  • Breakfast is unnatural (!)

Do you sometimes feel nauseous or sick in the mornings? Read this post Why do I feel sick in the morning? | 7 tips to stop nausea before breakfast for a few more tips!

“Can't” Eat Breakfast in the Morning? Here’s Why.
Article Name
“Can't” Eat Breakfast in the Morning? Here’s Why.
If you can't eat breakfast there is a really, really simple reason why. There is just one easy trick you need to help you eat breakfast. Here it is.
Publisher Name
Alyce Vayle | Content Strategist
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  1. Jamie
    August 22, 2013

    going to give it a try

    1. August 22, 2013

      It works! Eat a very, very light dinner, several hours before hitting the sheets and wake up with a decent appetite – simple! Thanks for your comment and good luck.

      See ya Jamie

    2. DJ
      February 7, 2016

      I want to eat. I ate breakfast once straight from being awake t o see if it was in my head for a week. I threw up everything. Toast, gluten free foods, yogurt, eggs. Only thing I can get in me is coffee, the 30 min later I can eat. I tried an antacids too, still threw up, what gives?

      1. February 7, 2016

        Hi Jamie,

        Nothing gives! That sounds right to me. No one should be trying to force food down their mouths right after waking – waiting 30 minutes as you say is completely normal. It’s often 1-2 hours after I wake that I sit down to breakfast, there’s nothing wrong with that. When you’re asleep – your body is in “fasting mode” so you need to give it time to adjust upon waking. A hot drink and some moderate activity (like walking) should to the trick.

        Thanks for your comment!


  2. September 3, 2013

    Thanks for the tips! I am a 4 am riser, and slowly trying to “train” myself to eat breakfast. I noticed that plain yogurt with some honey and wheat germ goes down easier and keeps me full until the afternoon.

    1. September 3, 2013

      Thanks for the comment, Finer!
      I love yoghurt – particularly Greek natural yoghurt. Some grated apple on top is always nice too!
      see you soon, thanks again. A

  3. Amanda
    March 8, 2014

    Thanks for your great tips!! I just want to point out that this may not work for everyone. I have sleep/wake cycle syndrome which means that my body and brain want to sleep during the day and be wide awake at night. I’ve been like this since I was a child due to a traumatic incident. I am now 34 years old and still cannot sleep at night, even with sleeping pills. I’ve been treated for years and have tried many things. I’ve been able to get myself on a short term sleep schedule by rotating sleep and tricking the “clock” into getting right with the rest of the world by staying up/going to bef 3 hours later every day until I get to my desired cycle. As far as eating light at night; it works the exact opposite for me! If I eat a lot, I’m starving in the morning (or when I do finally wake), if I eat light, I can’t eat for around five hours after waking. If I try to force myself to eat, I literally get physically sick and can’t force myself to swallow, much less hold anything down.

    I’ve been trying to find a way to trick my body into accepting food for a first meal (you call it breakfast, I call it first meal because breakfast is considered morning food and I’m not always up in the morning lol). If I figure out what works, ever, I will let you know…for those of us this doesn’t work for 🙂

    1. March 10, 2014

      Hi Amanda-
      Thanks so much for getting in touch. Wow – it does sound like your body is giving you some grief when it comes to your cycles. The information I put in this post might not work if (as you say) you have other issues to deal with to do with your sleep/wake cycle. In that case, I would suggest focusing on improving your patterns, which sounds exactly like what you are trying to do. I am not the best sleeper either, and if I eat “too lightly” at the end of the day, I have trouble falling asleep too. This post is for those people that can never eat breakfast because they eat too late, and too much. A common problem! Thanks again for your comments and I hope your sleeping pattern doesn’t give you too much strife!
      Sincerely, Alyce

  4. herpaderp
    July 1, 2014

    no mention of cortisol or serotonin? literally if i try to eat food in the morning, even if i’m hungry, i just want to spit it out because i can’t think about eating it.

    this is a result of stress hormones released at night during sleep. best idea is to eat salt, sugar, and fats before sleep. even then i usually am hungry and the morning but still have 2 force feed myself

    1. July 2, 2014

      Hi Herp-

      Wow – I haven’t ever heard of that – but it seems you are right! “The average 50 year old has nighttime cortisol levels more than 30 times higher than the average 30 year old. Try taking melatonin, a natural hormone produced at night that helps regulate sleep/wake cycles, before going to sleep to boost your own melatonin production that also decreases with age.”

      I would guess that your problem would affect you at other times as well as first thing in the morning? Anyway – I found a resource for you that provides 6 tips to managing high levels of cortisol: http://teeccino.com/building_optimal_health/148/Six-Tips-To-Reduce-The-Stress-Hormone,-Cortisol.html

      Hope you have a better night’s sleep!


  5. Adam Harris
    July 17, 2014

    my thing is thatI always wake up so thirsty. For example this morning for the first time in awhile I tried going to the gym after waking up. I had a few pieces of Kiwi, and a few nectarines. I did drink a few glasses of water but that wasn’t nearly enough. At the gym I could barely sweated because I needed to drink more water.I don’t get why I’m always like that because I drink water throughout the day and eat pretty healthy.but I always wake up thirsty and can’t eat regardless of how I ate the night before.. if I don’t guzzle water when I wake up then I’m super dehydrated, thus, why I can’t ever eat breakfast

    1. July 17, 2014

      Hi Adam-

      Thanks for your email – lots of us sweat while we sleep and lose salts and hydration during the night. If you are waking up thirsty – your body is craving hydration. Have a look at this website – http://www.nuun.com/hydration-101/hydration-faqs it offers lots of ideas why you may be dehydrated and also points out that your body is ‘fasting’ for the 7 or 8 hours it’s sleeping at night. I always keep 2 x 600mL bottles of water by the bed – in case one isn’t enough. The downside is that I often have to make nocturnal visits to the smallest room in the house – which can be equally annoying. I also eat a lot of salt, which makes me thirstier than most. Thansk for your comments and all the best!


  6. Hannah
    July 28, 2015

    Thanks! Now I know that I don’t need to eat much at night! Hope it helps me! 🙂

    1. August 12, 2015

      Best of luck Hannah! It really works!


  7. Chance
    August 29, 2015

    Hey Alyce,
    I’ve been using these tips for almost a month now and still haven’t been able to stomach anything in the morning. It doesn’t matter what foods or smoothies I try I can’t get anything down. I’m getting plenty of rest, fluids, and activity. Even the days that I have slept in until noon or 1, with a light dinner, I have absolutely no appetite for a couple of hours after I wake up. I’m 23 years old and can’t remember the last time I ate breakfast. Is there something wrong with me or do I need to try something different? I’m playing professional golf and need to be able to maintain energy levels during a round but I can’t eat in the morning.

    1. September 3, 2015

      Hi Chance,

      Thanks for your comments – sounds like you’re trying very hard here, so best of luck. I think what you describe is normal – no one expects you to eat right after you wake up, 1-2 hours is perfect. Personally, I wake at about 7am and I don’t eat breakfast until about 9:30 am when I get to work – so I have a 2 1/2 hour gap where I am doing things like showering, dressing, drying my hair, walking to the train station etc – so by the time I am at work – I am very hungry and keen to eat breakfast. When I say “eat a light dinner”, if you’ve had a really big lunch, this may not even work, as you’re close to your recommended calories for the day. I am not a nutritionist, but have you tried fasting your last meal of the day? This can be done safely in most cases. Have your last meal at 12-2pm and then nothing but herbal tea and water until bedtime. Try it once and observe if you’re hungrier upon waking. Also – if you’re not overweight and your energy is OK, then trust your body – I’m sure it knows what it’s doing!

      –Thanks for taking the time to connect and have a great day of golf!

      x x Alyce

      1. rick
        November 25, 2017

        I know what happened to me; A viscous flu hit my family and friends approx 4 years ago when millions of people were entering the USA from all over without any testing or health checks. . Since then I cannot eat in the morning and have a queasy stomach in the morning. When the flu hit there were many specific symptoms and my wife’s co workers husband, a man I have never met had the same symptoms as I did as I want thru the various stages of this particular flu.

        1. November 28, 2017

          Hi Rick,

          Well, it’s good that you can pinpoint your lack of appetite to a specific instance. Now you need to begin the healing process. Start out with a small breakfast (like yoghurt or fruit juice) about 1-2 hours after waking and build up from there.

          –Thanks for sharing your story

    October 16, 2015

    I go to bed hungry and still can’t eat anything in the morning. Breakfast makes me want to vomit (even though I have nothing in my stomach). It’s a biological thing for some people.

    1. October 21, 2015

      Hi Mmmmmm-

      Yep, that may be the case. Personally, I wait about 2 hours before eating after getting up. Coffee, shower, hair and makeup, clothes, train, sit at desk THEN I eat my breakfast. However, on the weekends, I sleep in until hunger forces me out of bed! Thanks for your comments.


  9. Shyam
    December 29, 2015

    I feel iam vomiting when I take food in the morning

    1. January 4, 2016

      Hi Shyam-

      That doesn’t sound very good! I think if you give your body some extra time in the morning it may help. Maybe wait 1.5 – 2 hours before attempting to eat. Wake up, have a hot shower, have some water. Be gentle with yourself in the morning and keep your dinners light.

      Let me know how you go.


  10. Shyam
    December 29, 2015

    I feel like to vomiting when I take morning breakfast

  11. Rich
    February 18, 2016

    I think that food cycle follows circadian rhythms. People should eat when they are hungry and sleep when they are tired. I am not a morning person and no matter how little I eat at night, eating in the morning makes me sick to my stomach all day, and waking up before noon makes me a crude man. Some peoples’ bodies just have different rhythms and they should not try to force themselves to conform to what works for the vocal majority. I agree that breakfast is unnatural because back in the days of yore, our ancestors didn’t have refrigerators or supermarkets and had to hunt or gather fresh food every day for thousands of years. Saying that breakfast is “The most important meal of the day.” is in the same vein as saying that night owls are lazy even if they sleep the same amount as morning jays albeit at a different schedule. The truth is, your body will let you know when you need food because you will be hungry.

    1. February 23, 2016

      Hi Rich,

      Yes, totally, I agree with you. But also to a point of ritual and routine. Humans naturally crave routines I think and these can lead us to feel better and be more healthy. I think it’s fine to listen to your body and only eat when you are hungry, but find out what routines suit you best and stick to them, that way you have to think about things less often and are more likely to make healthy choices. I, like you, am a huge believer in circadian rhythms and listening to our bodies.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  12. March 15, 2016

    I feel like vomiting and can’t eat much.
    I have gone underweight and will give it a try.
    Will you give some more tips for me?

    1. March 16, 2016

      Hi Gaurav,

      Some tips for you:
      Have a regular wake-up time
      Make sure you are properly hydrated before going to bed
      Make some hot ginger tea in the morning and sip it slowly – take about 30 minutes to enjoy the cup
      1 hour after waking, and after some light activity, have something light to eat. Some yoghurt, a smoothie, some cut fruit
      Then 30 minutes later, have a bit more to eat, some protein and some carbs

      Good luck!

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  15. Muhammad awais
    October 4, 2017

    Well I had no problem in eating breakfast untill the age of 17 . During vacations I started skipping breakfast and to enjoy more I use to wake up all night(for watching movies) with that ate alot of fried and spicy food and like after three month pain in chest started and I thought there’s something wrong with my heart and a month later started to have nausea before breakfast and hardly eat anything and had to force feed myself in morning . Now I’m 20 had like all the medical test LFT,RFT,CBC, stool test for hpylori antigen , TSH T4 , HEP A , HEP B , HEP C , abdominal ultrasound, serum amylase and diabetic profile . All tests were clear and even If I force fed myself never vomitted just nausea , little low bp , heart beat increases (no weight loss,no pain or flatulence thank God ) . But finally after taking so much of antacids , anti sickness and proton pump inhibitors and changing my habits alot I’m good . Still face a bit of acidity. From my experience of three years it’s like ur stomach gets used to of staying empty because of ur bad habits (or acidity problem,anxiety ) and for me these things worked . 1).drinking alot of water but if don’t drink water during or 50 minutes after meal.2)just sleep at night and don’t go closer to the bed after I wake up in the morning 3) brush us teeth and take a shower 4)stop eating fried and spicy food 5) stop drinking coffee, alcohol or tea 6) don’t smoke 7) walk for 10 minutes before morning meal 8) drink milk and eat youghurt 9) sleep facing left and with a pillow under ur head 10)keep ur self busy so that u can remove weird thoughts coming in ur mind 11) eat fresh fruits and one thing if ur weight is same thn nothing to worry about as ur body is fine and it’s because of ur habit that u r not able to eat breakfast . My best friend , maternal aunt and paternal aunt all have same problem . friend and Maternal aunt use to sleep till 2 pm in her teens skipping breakfast . Paternal aunt use to eat supari or chaliyaaa , betel nut in English . Maternal aunt even had upper GI endoscopy and doctor said to her tht ur stomach is perfect and is like baby stomach and she tells me that after that she never had pain or nausea.

    1. October 12, 2017

      Hi Muhammad,
      Thanks very much for sharing your tips and your story. I have never heard of betel nut as a remedy but I have found a great resource on this. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/betel-nuts/ I hope your stomach issues and appetite get better and it sounds as if you are doing your research.

      All the best,

  16. Muhammad awais
    October 28, 2017

    Betel nut is not a remedy ( it is dangerous as f ) I was just trying to tell u that my maternal , paternal aunts and friend had bad habit in their teens of skipping breakfast and eating betel nuts or spicy food . That resulted in the abdominal pain , nausea and not being able to eat breakfast but now they are fine .

    1. October 31, 2017

      Thanks for your comment, Muhammad. I agree that betel nut would not be my first choice as a remedy. It’s best to do the steps instructed in my post as first point of call, specifically, cutting down what you are eating at night, to ensure you have an appetite in the morning.
      Thanks again, Alyce

  17. Sky
    November 20, 2017

    Im 17
    and breakfast does make u hungry. When i eat breakfast i get hungry in the middle of class. And personally i dont like to be hungry so when lunch comes i eat till im satisfied not full cause 1 school food sucks anyway then when dinner comes rolling around i eat untill im satisfied not full. Ive been doing this sinse i was little and i dont know what to do cause when i eat its hard for me to stop.and recently i started keeping track of my calories and i looked it and it low. So i tried to eat breakfast and it makes me sick. Im not eating enough calories i can only get it to 700-800 but for my age and a female i need 1200-1400 calories a day idk what to do.

    1. November 28, 2017

      Hi Sky,

      It’s good news that you sound like a conscious eater. You are young and your metabolism would be quite high (it lowers as you age). If you want to add more calories, try full fat yoghurt or smoothies – both are great in the morning and can be eaten on the go.

      –Good luck and thanks for your comments.


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  19. Šárka
    January 7, 2018

    Well, I’m not able to eat in the morning no matter how much I ate the previous night. I often wake up feeling hungry but it only makes things worse. How to go round that?

    1. May 6, 2018

      Hi Sarka,

      Try a very light breakfast such as a smoothie, or yoghurt. Then try to eat again after an hour or so. Good luck!

  20. Alex
    March 31, 2018

    Hey – I found this article after Googling ‘some people just can’t eat breakfast’ to try to find evidence to back up my ongoing debate with my girlfriend that I just can’t eat breakfast! Never have been able to. It’s always a good couple of hours after waking before I feel hungry, anything before that is just forcing food inside myself which feels horrible! Everyone has always acted like I’m an absolute weirdo for this, but I can see I’m not alone now! Thanks 🙂

    1. April 3, 2018

      Thanks Alex!

  21. Andy Swmyonov
    April 21, 2018

    Hi Alyce, first of all, thanks for the article. I’m 26 years old and have never been a morning person. In the first couple of hours, I never have an appetite, at least, for a proper meal. A cup of tea and some cookies are just about enough. But I start to get ravenous around 11 am and would eat almost anything at that time. Lunch at 2, and with a partly filled stomach, I don’t need to eat too much then either.

    You talk about eating less at night and mind, you’re not the only one I’ve heard giving that advice. But when someone eats very little through the day, they’re bound to be hungry at night. So someone like me, who barely eats in the morning, and also eats meagerly in lunch, is pretty much building up their appetite for night. A meal about 25% heavier than lunch and a full glass of milk is essential for me to go to sleep. AND, I sleep pretty soundly. Also, I keep myself sufficiently hydrated.

    From a nutritionist and health and fitness expert’s viewpoint, all that must seem like a woeful eating routine. But what’s so wrong with it if I’m attending to my body’s needs whenever it triggers an alarm?

    1. May 6, 2018

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, if you are not eating much through the day and feel hungry at night, then this is likely to affect your ability to eat in the morning. There’s nothing (really) wrong with getting many of your calories at night but (as you say) the optimal way for many people is to train themselves to measure their meals throughout the day. This depends on your lifestyle – your work hours, family commitments and calorie needs – it’s always good to try new things.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
      Love, Alyce

  22. asdfgasd
    May 2, 2018

    What a bunch of bullshit

  23. hello..
    July 3, 2018

    Since when is “firing up metabolism” a good thing? Doesn’t that lead to early death? Increased wear and tear of organs and tissues, oxidization and all that. I’ve read that we should slow it down as much as possible (by caloric restriction, for example) if we want to live longer.

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  32. Kristóf
    May 11, 2019

    I often eat something 2-3 hours before going to bed (rarely even later) and I drink water later too.
    I usually wait 1-3 hours before I eat anything. More if I wake up sooner, less if I wake up later.
    If I eat too much too soon, I have to sit on the toilet. 😀

    I’m already trying to change my habits.

    1. May 28, 2019

      Thanks for your comments Kristof!

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