Does Skipping Breakfast Affect Weight Loss Efforts?

Faith Castro
February 2, 2019

The clinical trials show that if people are encouraged to eat breakfast, they still eat more calories than they should later in the day, she said.

Skipping breakfast won't do your weight - or overall health - much good if you're eating outsized and/or not-so-nutritious lunches and dinners, and snacking throughout the day.

Conducted mostly on obese people from the United States or United Kingdom over the last several decades, those 13 trials looked at the links between eating (or skipping) breakfast and body weight, and how breakfast impacted total daily energy intake.

The research, conducted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and published in the British Medical Journal, found that skipping breakfast could help people lose weight. These studies are usually observational, though, meaning they only look for indirect associations between two things (in this example, eating or skipping breakfast and weight loss or less obesity) in a decent-sized group of people.

New research has found that people who skip breakfast tend to weigh 1lb less than those who eat a morning meal.

Additionally, there was little difference in effect of breakfast on normal and overweight people.

Although the authors pointed out that there were some inconsistencies and varying quality in the studies included in the review, they said it appears that eating breakfast isn't a helpful strategy for losing weight.

The scientists aren't the first to challenge the supposed link between eating breakfast and weight loss.

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The authors say it'll take more research, preferably from large, high-quality trials, to be completely sure of anything. Rather, it's that breakfast probably isn't the magic weight-loss solution it's sometimes made out to be, so it shouldn't be prescribed to everyone. "We can conclude that modification of diets to include consumption of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss".

Previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast would lead to a healthier weight. There was also no evidence that they were less likely to overeat later in the day.

She stressed that people should "follow what suits their bodies best", whether that is eating breakfast every day and cutting down on calories if they want to lose weight or, if they are not hungry in the mornings, simply skipping the morning meal.

Breakfast may not be the "most important meal of the day" after all, at least for people trying to lose weight. Eat if you're hungry and if you'e not, don't worry about it.

"The problem is that those who eat breakfast tend to be different to those who don't".

'Eating a meal in the morning - and it doesn't need to be immediately after waking - helps to restore blood sugar levels which will have fallen overnight, ' explains nutritionist and founder of employee wellbeing company Elevate, Ruth Tongue.

But she also noted that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to eating breakfast.

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