Skipping Breakfast Does Not Impact Weight Loss

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 06/06/2014 | 11:15 AM EDT

Researchers conclude there’s no correlation between eating in the morning and dieting

A new study has debunked the idea that eating breakfast in the morning somehow correlates with weight loss.


Researchers at the University of Alabama say skipping breakfast does not hinder weight loss, but that it also doesn’t help it either. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined the impact of recommendations to either skip or eat breakfast in 309 moderately overweight adults between the ages of 20 and 65, all actively trying to lose weight.


The experiment lasted over a period of 16 weeks where experimental groups were instructed to either eat or skip breakfast, while a control group consisted of some who ate breakfast and others who skipped it - however none is that group received any guidance in terms of breakfast, only healthy nutrition information.


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The study’s lead author Emily Dhurandhar, Ph.D., points out that there was no evidence that advising dieters to eat breakfast leads to weight loss.


"Previous studies have mostly demonstrated correlation, but not necessarily causation," Dhurandhar said. "In contrast, we used a large, randomized controlled trial to examine whether or not breakfast recommendations have a causative effect on weight loss, with weight change as our primary outcome."


For years, Breakfast has been considered the most important meal of the day, with health professionals championing the meal as essential to influencing one’s appetite and metabolism. Some nutritionists believe morning is the best time for the biggest meal of the day, reducing hunger later on and concentrating principal calorie consumption early, in the idea that it burns off as the day continues.


But with this new study, it appears there’s more to discover about what effects weight loss and what does not.


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“Now that we know the general recommendation of ‘eat breakfast every day’ has no differential impact on weight loss, we can move forward with studying other techniques for improved effectiveness,” Dhurandhar said. “We should try to understand why eating or skipping breakfast did not influence weight loss, despite evidence that breakfast may influence appetite and metabolism.”

(Photo: Patryce Bak/cultura/Corbis)

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