Friday, 22 February, 2019


Breakfast might not help weight-loss - but you shouldn't skip meals

Most Important Meal? Review Questions Whether Breakfast Is Really Good for Weight Loss Credit Shutterstock
Patty Aguilar | 01 February, 2019, 08:25

"Whilst some studies do show that people who eat breakfast tend to be a healthier weight, there is no clear benefit of starting to eat breakfast just as a tool to lose weight", says Dr Frankie Phillips, a registered dietitian at the BDA.

'On top of this, studies have shown time after time that people who skip breakfast are more likely to make less healthy choices later in the day - be it due to the feeling that they are "allowed" that treat because they've skipped a meal or because they're simply hungrier and in need of more energy. The study found no good evidence that regularly eating breakfast helps us cut down on calories or avoid weight gain.

Scientists from the Monash University in Melbourne looked at 13 controlled trials of mostly United Kingdom and USA subjects from over the past 28 years, and analysed the data.

The pooled results found a very small difference in weight between those who ate breakfast and those who did not, with those who skipped breakfast on average 0.44kg lighter.

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.

"Reasonable evidence now suggests that skipping breakfast can actually be a useful strategy to reduce weight".

She added: 'Although eating breakfast regularly could have other important effects, caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it may have the opposite effect'.

The review also didn't find any significant differences in metabolic rates between breakfast skippers and breakfast eaters. "Importantly there was no evidence for improved metabolism in those who ate breakfast or that they were less likely to overeat later in the day".

"This review questions the recommendation for breakfast consumption" to help with weight loss, the researchers, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, wrote in the January 30 issue of the journal The BMJ.

The authors noted that the overall quality of the studies was low, saying more research is needed.

"This study does not say breakfast is bad for the health", he said.

She said that around 80% of people in Ireland don't eat enough fibre and she said she would have "a huge concern if people suddenly cut it out".

They also challenged suggestions that skipping breakfast can disrupt the body's internal clock and lead to weight gain.

"We are not talking about breakfast being the cause of obesity", he said.

"We can conclude that modification of diets to include consumption of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss".

Cicuttini told CNN the belief breakfast helps people better metabolize food and leaves them less hungry throughout the day stems from earlierobservational studies, adding that it was possible that people who ate breakfast had other healthy habits, like exercising.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, said the mantra of breakfast being the most important meal of the day had been ingrained in most people from childhood and reinforced by campaigns such as "go to work on an egg".

Overall amounts of glucose in the blood are also lower just 14 days after adopting a three meal a day eating plan.

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

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