BREAKFAST HAS traditionally been described as the most important meal of the day.
The logic went that if you start off with a big breakfast you would be less likely to feel hungry throughout the rest of the day.
That would mean less snacking, less calories and an overall reduction in weight.
Or, at least, that was what we were led to believe.
Now a review published by the British Medical Journal suggests that the notion of breakfast being “the most important meal of the day” may not be entirely accurate.
Or, to be more precise, eating a big breakfast may not help people control their weight in the way many previously assumed.
According to researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, there is little to no evidence to support the idea that breakfast helps with weight loss.
Quite the contrary, in fact, with the study indicating that skipping breakfast may actually help you lose weight rather than gain it.
In fact, the findings of their study showed a higher average daily calorie intake among people eating breakfast compared with those skipping the meal
While some previous studied had identified a link between eating breakfast and maintaining a healthy weight, this latest study found that, in the majority of those instances, they were observational and more of a reflection of the individual’s lifestyle.
As part of the study, researched looked at the effect of eating a regular breakfast had on weight change and daily energy intake, using evidence collated from 13 studies over the past 28 years.
Several trials were also conducted to examine the effect of eating or skipping breakfast on bodyweight and energy intake.
Habitual and non-habitual breakfast eaters were studied while test subjects with a range of body weights were assessed over periods ranging from 24 hours to 16 weeks.
The results showed that total energy intake was higher among those who ate breakfast, with this group consuming around 260 more calories a day on average.
Researchers also found those skipping breakfast were also around a pound lighter on average.
Additionally, there was little difference in effect of breakfast on normal and overweight people.
Researchers failed to find any significant different in metabolic rates among breakfast eaters and skippers.
They also failed to find a link between people skipping breakfast and subsequently feeling hungrier later in the day.
Commenting on the findings, study co-author Professor Flavia Cicuttini, of Monash University, said:
“Currently, the available evidence does not support modifying diets in adults to include the consumption of breakfast as a good strategy to lose weight.
“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.”