Study disputes notion that breakfast is key to weight control

June 5, 2014
Study disputes notion that breakfast is key to weight control
Recommendation to eat breakfast every day for weight loss wasn't confirmed in testing.

(HealthDay)—New research refutes the common belief that skipping breakfast could contribute to obesity.

Instead, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found that passing on the first meal of the day doesn't help or hinder efforts to lose weight.

"The field of obesity and is full of commonly held beliefs that have not been subjected to rigorous testing; we have now found that one such belief does not seem to hold up when tested," senior investigator David Allison, director of the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center, said in a university news release. "This should be a wake-up call for all of us to always ask for evidence about the recommendations we hear so widely offered."

The study involved 309 overweight and obese adults between the ages of 20 and 65. The otherwise healthy participants were randomly told to eat breakfast or skip the meal. The study also included a that was given healthy nutrition information, but not any specific instructions about breakfast. People in this control group included those who ate breakfast and those who skipped breakfast.

The researchers analyzed the effects of eating or skipping breakfast on weight loss. They also examined how changing breakfast habits could influence efforts to shed unwanted pounds.

"Previous studies have mostly demonstrated correlation, but not necessarily causation," study author Emily Dhurandhar, an assistant professor in UAB's department of health behavior, said in the news release. "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."

The study, published online June 4 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed there was no difference in weight loss among the various groups.

"We should try to understand why eating or skipping breakfast did not influence weight loss, despite evidence that breakfast may influence appetite and metabolism," Dhurandhar noted.

Also, the findings only included body weight and did not examine the effects of breakfast habits on people's appetite, body fat and metabolism, she said.

"In addition, our study was 16 weeks in duration, which is longer than many previous studies; but it is not clear whether an effect of the recommendation would be clearer from an even longer duration study," Dhurandhar added. "Finally, we gave subjects a recommendation of what a healthy breakfast is, but left their choices of foods up to their discretion."

Explore further: Skipping breakfast may be healthy way to shed weight

More information: The American Heart Association provides more information on how to lose weight.

Related Stories

Skipping breakfast may be healthy way to shed weight

July 22, 2013

If you skip breakfast, don't worry about overeating at lunch or the rest of the day, report Cornell nutritional scientists July 2 in the journal Physiology and Behavior. In fact, nixing breakfast a few times a week may be ...

Skipping breakfast may make obese women insulin resistant

June 17, 2013

Overweight women who skip breakfast experience acute, or rapid-onset, insulin resistance, a condition that, when chronic, is a risk factor for diabetes, a new study finds. The results, which were presented Sunday at The Endocrine ...

Recommended for you

Yo-yo dieting might cause extra weight gain

December 5, 2016

Repeated dieting may lead to weight gain because the brain interprets the diets as short famines and urges the person to store more fat for future shortages, new research by the universities of Exeter and Bristol suggests.

New target receptor discovered in the fight against obesity

November 25, 2016

The team of scientists from King's College London and Imperial College London tested a high-fat diet, containing a fermentable carbohydrate, and a control diet on mice and looked at the effect on food intake of those with ...

Does where you live affect what you weigh?

November 21, 2016

Adult obesity rates in the United States have reached epidemic proportions, with one in four people considered obese. Yet, obesity rates vary considerably across states and counties.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tangent2
3 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2014
"In addition, our study was 16 weeks in duration, which is longer than many previous studies; but it is not clear whether an effect of the recommendation would be clearer from an even longer duration study,"

Even with this study, being one of the longer running studies, still can't prove one way or another that breakfast is that important. And yet, the shorter studies are what is used to sway public opinion on the matter. Ignorant much?
marko
3 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2014
In many countries breakfast conists of a a small pastry or biscuit and cup of tea or coffee.

Lunch could be considered the main meal and dinner can be late in the evening.

Breakfast is "breaking the fast".

For those doing intermittent fasting in order to stay trim or to sustainably lose weight, delaying breakfast represents an easy opportunity to extend the fast.

If the last meal of the previous day is 9pm then having the first major meal of the day at 1pm the following fast day gives a fasting period of 16 hours.

An occassional cup of coffee or tea suppresses the appetite and allows fasters to go the distance on these days.

A secret of fasting is that food make you hungry. After some acclimatisation to fasting, you have to remember to eat regularly when required and to drink plenty of water to keep the digestive process working.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.