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

Study of protein 'trafficker' provides insight into autism and other brain disorders

September 22, 2018
In the brain, as in business, connections are everything. To maintain cellular associates, the outer surface of a neuron, its membrane, must express particular proteins—proverbial hands that reach out and greet nearby cells. ...

Breast milk may be best for premature babies' brain development

September 21, 2018
Babies born before their due date show better brain development when fed breast milk rather than formula, a study has found.

Early warning sign of psychosis detected

September 21, 2018
Brains of people at risk of psychosis exhibit a pattern that can help predict whether they will go on to develop full-fledged schizophrenia, a new Yale-led study shows. The findings could help doctors begin early intervention ...

White matter repair and traumatic brain injury

September 20, 2018
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., contributing to about 30 percent of all injury deaths, according to the CDC. TBI causes damage to both white and gray matter in the brain, ...

Genomic dark matter activity connects Parkinson's and psychiatric diseases

September 20, 2018
Dopamine neurons are located in the midbrain, but their tendril-like axons can branch far into the higher cortical areas, influencing how we move and how we feel. New genetic evidence has revealed that these specialized cells ...

Gut branches of vagus nerve essential components of brain's reward and motivation system

September 20, 2018
A novel gut-to-brain neural circuit establishes the vagus nerve as an essential component of the brain system that regulates reward and motivation, according to research conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount ...

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.