Brain scans suggest downside to skipping breakfast

October 17, 2012
Brain scans suggest downside to skipping breakfast
Small study found fasting prompts people to seek out high-calorie foods.

(HealthDay)—People who skip breakfast may end up eating more and making less healthy food choices throughout the day, according to a new study. Eating breakfast, on the other hand, helps people avoid overeating and cravings for high-calorie foods.

The findings are scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.

Researchers compared MRI brain scans of 21 people. Scans were conducted both when the participants had not eaten anything that morning and after they had a 750-calorie . After all of the scans, the participants were served lunch.

"Through both the participants' MRI results and observations of how much they ate at lunch, we found ample evidence that fasting made people hungrier, and increased the appeal of high-calorie foods and the amount people ate," Dr. Tony Goldstone, at the MRC Clinical Science Centre at London's Imperial College, said in a society news release.

The study revealed that the people who skipped breakfast had a variation in the pattern of activity in their , an area of the brain linked to the reward value and pleasantness of food.

Specifically, pictures of high-calorie foods triggered activity in this area of their brain. The study authors noted, however, that if the participant ate breakfast, this response was not as strong.

The researchers concluded that fasting is not a good dieting strategy because it may cause the brain to seek out high-calorie foods.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Explore further: Eat a protein-rich breakfast to reduce food cravings, prevent overeating later, researcher finds

More information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about nutrition.

Related Stories

Eat a protein-rich breakfast to reduce food cravings, prevent overeating later, researcher finds

May 19, 2011
A University of Missouri researcher has found that eating a healthy breakfast, especially one high in protein, increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day. In addition, using functional magnetic resonance imaging ...

'Dessert with breakfast diet' helps avoid weight regain by reducing cravings

June 25, 2012
Dieters have less hunger and cravings throughout the day and are better able to keep off lost weight if they eat a carbohydrate-rich, protein-packed breakfast that includes dessert. These findings come from a new study that ...

The hungry bypass veggies for starches, proteins

June 29, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- After going without food for 18 hours, most of us would rather reach for French fries or chicken fingers than green beans or carrots, according to a new study from Cornell's Food and Brand Lab.

Viewing images of high-calorie foods brings on high-calorie cravings

June 25, 2012
You're minding your own business when a food craving suddenly hits, and if you just saw an image of a cupcake, or consumed a sugary soda, that may be no accident.

Recommended for you

Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

July 25, 2017
Fresh insights into how zebrafish repair their nerve connections could hold clues to new therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

Brain stimulation may improve cognitive performance in people with schizophrenia

July 24, 2017
Brain stimulation could be used to treat cognitive deficits frequently associated with schizophrenia, according to a new study from King's College London.

New map may lead to drug development for complex brain disorders, researcher says

July 24, 2017
Just as parents are not the root of all their children's problems, a single gene mutation can't be blamed for complex brain disorders like autism, according to a Keck School of Medicine of USC neuroscientist.

Bird songs provide insight into how developing brain forms memories

July 24, 2017
Researchers at the University of Chicago have demonstrated, for the first time, that a key protein complex in the brain is linked to the ability of young animals to learn behavioral patterns from adults.

Working around spinal injuries: Rehabilitation, drug treatment lets rats recover some involuntary movement

July 24, 2017
A new study in rats shows that changes in the brain after spinal cord injury are necessary to restore at least some function to lower limbs. The work was published recently in the journal eLife.

Research identifies new brain death pathway in Alzheimer's disease

July 24, 2017
Alzheimer's disease tragically ravages the brains, memories and ultimately, personalities of its victims. Now affecting 5 million Americans, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and a cure ...

0 comments

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.