If you are one of the 53% of Americans that skip breakfast at least once a week, pay close attention to this post. You are sabotaging your health in more ways than you know when you make this choice. The ideas surrounding breakfast being the most important meal of the day are not only still true, but the list of reasons why is steadily growing.

Breakfast sets the tone for your day and fuels the body to take action. This you probably already know. Skipping it sets an entirely different tone, and the long and short-term effects should not be brushed off. Here are five ways skipping this key meal can impact your overall well-being.

  1. Your metabolism slows

While your body sleeps, it goes into a fasting mode. It expects to be fed in the morning to “break-fast”. When it isn’t given the meal it needs to start working for you at the onset of the day, the body remains in fasting mode and your metabolism slows way down to conserve resources.

  1. Say hello to extra pounds

Research has found skipping breakfast was associated with increased prevalence of obesity. Aside from a slowdown in calorie burning, thanks to a slowed metabolism, you are also more likely to gorge at lunch and make bad choices out of hunger. You end up eating more calories during the day. Those calories add up over time, and your scale will show you the real impact.

  1. Say goodbye to mental sharpness and productivity

When you don’t give your body enough calories to do the work you are asking of it, everything is a little bit sluggish. It is harder to focus, complete task quickly, and with the drop in your blood sugar, you may just feel plain weak or cranky.

  1. Cholesterol levels rise

Starting your day without an influx of calories at breakfast lowers the body’s response to insulin and increases its levels in your blood stream. When the body becomes less sensitive to insulin, it can trap and store fat longer. In addition to packing on the pounds, your bad cholesterol levels will go up too.

  1. Heart disease risk increases

Skipping breakfast has been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease. Fasting puts a strain on your body and amplifies the major contributing risk factors such as increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, and carrying extra weight. If that isn’t enough to scare you, Type II diabetes and stroke can be triggered by the same factors.

Make time for this extremely vital meal. Schedule it into your morning routine or take it on the road with you. Meal replacement shakes have made it easier than ever. You can make your own or try brands like mēle for a quick and healthy fix that will solve your breakfast dilemma. In the long run, the 10 minutes you save by skipping this essential meal could cost you a lot.