- New research has found that people who skip breakfast tend to weigh 1lb less than those who eat a morning meal.
- The findings contradict claims that forgoing breakfast leads to snacking more later in the day.
- The researchers say that those who are trying to lose weight should not necessarily eat breakfast if they don’t want to.
Many of us grew up being told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, there’s now even more evidence that this may not be the case.
In what may be sad news for lovers of eggs, avocado, and oatmeal, a new study has concluded that people who skip breakfast tend to weigh less than those who eat a morning meal.
The research, conducted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and published in the British Medical Journal, found that skipping breakfast could help people lose weight.
Researchers analysed 13 randomised studies related to breakfast and weight in high income countries.
They found that those who eat breakfast consume significantly more calories overall than those who forgo the morning meal – breakfast-skippers were found to consume 260 fewer calories per day.
The findings fly in the face of the common consensus that skipping breakfast only leads to snacking on calorie-dense, less sustaining snacks later in the day.
Indeed, the NHS claims that: “Research suggests people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they tend to eat less during the day – particularly fewer high-calorie snacks.”
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) adds that research shows that “people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip it, are less likely to be overweight, (and) lose weight more successfully if overweight.”
Breakfast advocates often claim that eating in the morning means they burn more calories over the course of the day, but the new research disproves this theory, too.
The analysis found that the basal metabolic rate of breakfast-eaters was no higher than breakfast-skippers.
After comparing all 13 studies, the researchers found that people who skipped breakfast weighed 1lb less than those who ate a morning meal – although weight alone isn’t a complete judge of health.
The researchers noted that breakfast has, in fact, been shown to have other benefits such as improving concentration, so further research is needed into the subject.
However, they wrote: “This study suggests that the addition of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss, regardless of established breakfast habit.”
They went on to say that “caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it could have the opposite effect.”
“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.”
According to The Independent, Dr Frankie Phillips, registered dietician for the British Dietetic Association, told Press Assocation: “Whilst some studies do show that people who eat breakfast tend to be a healthier weight, there is no clear benefit of starting to eat breakfast just as a tool to lose weight. The study shows that simply having breakfast isn’t a magic recipe for weight loss for everyone.
“If you do enjoy breakfast, don’t stop, but take a look at what you are having.”
He added that breakfast “has the potential to be one of the easiest times of the day to eat a balanced meal, and to meet a number of nutrition targets.”
“So a simple breakfast of wholegrain cereal and milk with a glass of unsweetened fruit juice and a cup of tea provides protein, fibre, a raft of vitamins and minerals, and plant phytochemicals,” he said.
The new research comes just after Hollywood personal trainer and physical therapist David Higgins told INSIDER he believes breakfast is overrated.
Higgins pointed out that the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” originated as a marketing campaign for a food company which sold eggs and bacon.
The trainer to stars such as Margot Robbie, Claudia Schiffer, and Colin Firth is an advocate of time-restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting, whereby you limit your window of consumption to, ideally, eight hours.
For some people this means skipping breakfast, but for others it can be eating your final food of the day in the afternoon.