Medicine

Skipping breakfast 'can help you to lose weight'

Skipping breakfast 'can help you to lose weight'

Despite what we've been told for years, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day for weight loss or to prevent the onset of hunger.

It found that total daily energy intake was higher in groups who ate breakfast compared with those who skipped it by an average of 260 more calories consumed in a day, regardless of their usual breakfast habits. The study found no good evidence that regularly eating breakfast helps us cut down on calories or avoid weight gain.

However, those findings come from observational trials and critics say there may be other important differences between people who do or do not tend to start the day with a meal.

In the new review, the researchers analyzed information from 13 previous studies in which participants were randomly assigned to either eat breakfast or skip breakfast.

Spector also noted the growing popularity and scientific weight behind time-restricted eating, a form of intermittent fasting where adherents limit their food intake to a particular window of time every day - those on the 16:8 diet, for example, fast for 16 consecutive hours every 24 hours, and eat all their meals within the remaining eight.

'So all in all, the benefit you may get from a slightly reduced calorie intake skipping breakfast will be far outweighed by the negative effects'.

But a new analysis found that people who ate breakfast regularly consumed more calories each day and those who skipped it didn't have an increased appetite later in the day.

More damning, it even found some evidence that skipping breakfast entirely would be better for our waistlines - although you should probably find better ways to stay fit.

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The research also shows that you don't have to eat a good breakfast in order to set you up for the day or to stop you from getting hangry later in afternoon. "We are told that breakfast helps our metabolism and that skipping it will make us much hungrier so we'll overeat".

Writing in the BMJ, they said: "Caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it could have the opposite effect".

There was no significant difference in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers. "It has the same impact on your calorie intake if you have it for breakfast as though you have it at 4pm". But he said the findings suggested it was "just another diet myth". But as with other times of the day, she suggested, "eat when you're hungry and have moderate portions of food".

'While waiting for guidelines to change, no harm can be done in trying out your own personal experiments in skipping breakfast'. But what we tend to see is that there's a strong push towards eating breakfast because "you should".

"This study does not say breakfast is bad for the health", he said.

"The key message is that if a person likes to eat breakfast that is fine", she said. "But there are certainly many people for whom eating breakfast is in fact likely to make it tougher".

More research is needed into the impact of breakfast on metabolism and weight.

'While breakfast has been advocated as the most important meal of the day in the media since 1917, there is a paucity of evidence to support breakfast consumption as a strategy to achieve weight loss, including in adults with overweight or obesity'.