You’ve probably heard for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day if you try to maintain a healthy weight. But new research suggests that it is not true.
Eating a substantial breakfast does not help people eat less later in the day, and those who eat breakfast in the end eat more calories each day, the review found.
“We should not change the diets to include breakfast with the goal of losing weight. Do what works best for you,” said senior review author Flavia Cicuttini, director of the musculoskeletal unit at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
“Evidence indicates that breakfast tends to increase a person’s total caloric intake and overall weight gain,” said Cicuttini.
But he also noted that there is no universal solution regarding the consumption of breakfast. Some people like breakfast, and others don’t.
The results of the study appear in the January 30 online edition of the BMJ magazine .
Tim Spector, author of an editorial published with the study in the magazine, agreed that breakfast or not should be based on personal preferences.
Spector, who likes to have breakfast, said that “everyone has a unique metabolism, a genetics and very different intestinal microbes, and will react to different foods. Do not consider the standard guidelines as an absolute truth. Experience [to find out] what it is the best for your body. “
Previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast would lead to a healthier weight. But both Cicuttini and Spector pointed out that most previous research was observational. Spector noted that some of the investigations “had biases and failures.”
In the new study, the researchers observed 13 randomized controlled trials that were conducted over three decades. The studies were mostly done in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The weight of the trial participants varied, and some ate breakfast regularly, and some did not. The studies monitored people from just one day to even 16 weeks.
People who ate breakfast at the end ate about 260 more calories a day, the review found. People who did not eat breakfast weighed about a pound (0.45 kilos) less than those who ate breakfast.
The review also found no significant difference in metabolic rates between those who did not eat breakfast and those who did.
Although the authors noted that there were some inconsistencies and that the quality of the studies included in the review varied, they said that it seems that breakfast is not a useful strategy for losing weight.
According to Cicuttini, “the key message is that if a person likes to have breakfast, it’s fine. But there is no evidence that we should encourage people to change their eating pattern to include breakfast in order to prevent the increase in weight or obesity. “
Dana White, a registered dietitian at the University of Quinnipiac in Hamden, Connecticut, said “maybe this review offers people who don’t like breakfast the confirmation that maybe not having breakfast won’t sabotage their weight loss. But if you have hungry in the morning, I wouldn’t tell him to ignore it either. “
White said that for people who exercise in the morning, not having breakfast may be more difficult. But as at the other times of the day, he suggested, “Eat when you are hungry, and eat moderate portions of food.”
And although perhaps not having breakfast is not the dietary sin that often arises, it is unlikely that dispensing with the first morning meal is a panacea for the diet, White noted.