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


Do you eat a hearty breakfast in the morning and then skip a few meals thinking it will help you lose weight?

'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.

Its reputation as the nutritional backstop to our day stems from observational studies showing a positive link between people eating breakfast and having a healthy weight.

The research found that people who skipped breakfast were on average 0.44kg lighter.

"I don't feel the findings are robust enough to recommend [skipping breakfast] as a weight-loss strategy for most people", Hunnes told Live Science.

So, should we be having small breakfasts instead of large meals and perhaps start the day as Italian or French culture dictates, with a simple coffee and pastry or piece of bread, and enjoy a large lunch instead?

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. But new research suggests that's not true.

But the reviewers found "no significant difference" in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers.

The effect of breakfast on weight did not differ between people with a normal weight and those who were overweight.

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It has previously been suggested that eating breakfast may help with weight loss because of the efficient burning of calories early in the day preventing overeating later on.

The researchers also noted that the current review also included some low quality studies, and advise caution when interpreting the results.

Lead author Dr Daniela Jakubowicz, from Tel Aviv University, said: 'The hour of the day - when you eat and how frequently you eat - is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat.

'While breakfast has been advocated as the most important meal of the day in the media since 1917, there is a paucity of evidence to support breakfast consumption as a strategy to achieve weight loss, including in adults with overweight or obesity'.

As tempting as this might be if you have a weight-loss goal, the reality is that regularly skipping breakfast, or any meal, can be risky. People who always eat breakfast shouldn't be discouraged from doing so, she said. But what we tend to see is that there's a strong push towards eating breakfast because "you should".

Professor Tim Spector, of King's College London, discussing the findings, said that people have different preferences for when they eat food, which 'might suit our unique personal metabolism'.

Eating breakfast won't make you slim if you're knocking back a bowl of sugar disguised as cereal, or a full English (which can tally at 800-1000 calories, far above the 200-400 in a serving of cereal).

It's common for people on such protocols to break their fasts at lunchtime, regularly skipping breakfast and finishing their day's feeding with dinner at about 8pm.

He added: 'No 'one size fits all, ' and prescriptive slow moving diet guidelines filled with erroneous information look increasingly counterproductive and detract from important health messages.