April 26, 2019

Breakfast may not help with weight loss after all

01 February 2019, 08:23 | Randall Craig

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Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but eating it won't help you lose weight, research suggests. A number of studies have looked into the relationship between eating breakfast and body weight, some past work indicating that eating breakfast was linked to lower weights.

Scientists from the Monash University in Melbourne looked at 13 controlled trials of mostly United Kingdom and U.S. subjects from over the past 28 years, and analysed the data. "We are told that breakfast helps our metabolism and that skipping it will make us much hungrier so we'll overeat".

But a new analysis found that people who ate breakfast regularly consumed more calories each day and those who skipped it didn't have an increased appetite later in the day.

Previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast revs up the metabolism and can help dieters stop overeating later in the day.

Researchers found there is no good evidence to support the idea that eating breakfast promotes weight loss - or that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain.

Carried out by researchers at Monash University, the new study looked at 13 randomised controlled trials from the last 28 years to investigate whether regularly eating breakfast could have a positive effect on weight change and daily energy (calorie) intake. Those who ate breakfast also ate more calories per day - about 260 more on average.

Researchers also found those skipping breakfast were also around a pound lighter on average.

And they say caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults - because it could have the opposite effect.

Kevin Murphy, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Imperial College London, said in an email to CNN that the study's "analysis suggests that eating breakfast is, on average, likely to make it more hard to lose weight, as you eat more calories during the day".

They called for more long-term, high-quality studies to further examine the role of breakfast in weight control. The results showed that an individual's culture had no impact.

"There's nothing protective about having a pastry, just because you eat it in the morning. It has the same impact on your calorie intake if you have it for breakfast as though you have it at 4pm".

The findings reveal that consuming a hearty breakfast after you wake up could have the same impact on your body as having a big dinner before bed.

If you're trying to lose weight you've probably been told not to skip breakfast, as it could make you hungrier later in the day.

Prof Cicuttini explains that the focus should be not placed on when we eat our largest meal of the day - whether it's at lunch or breakfast - but on total daily calorie content.

"The big myth that has prevailed is that, somehow, if you eat breakfast you would be safer than if you don't eat breakfast".

There are good reasons to eat up early in the day, especially if you're young. "A pastry is a pastry, is a pastry".

'While waiting for guidelines to change, no harm can be done in trying out your own personal experiments in skipping breakfast'.

"We are not talking about breakfast being the cause of obesity", he said. "Well the evidence now says that's not the case".

Prof Cicuttini wants breakfast lovers to know that the study's authors are not anti-breakfast.

"We should not change diets to include breakfast eating in order to lose weight".

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