Breakfast may not help with weight loss after all

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Those who did not eat breakfast lost on average a pound more than those who did, consuming about 260 fewer calories a day, researchers found.

Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day after all: skipping it could help dieters to lose weight, according to a study.

"Currently, the available evidence does not support modifying diets in adults to include the consumption of breakfast as a good strategy to lose weight".

Monash University in Melbourne reviewed 13 studies from the last 28 years in high income countries around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, examining weight and energy intake from breakfast consumption.

"The study shows that simply having breakfast isn't a magic recipe for weight loss for everyone".

People's bodies differ. Listen to your body.

However, they said eating breakfast could have other important effects, such as improving concentration and attentiveness in children.

In fact, the findings show that daily calorie intake was higher in people eating breakfast and that skipping breakfast does not cause greater appetite later in the day.

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"Breakfast is important for nutrient intake, such as cereals and milk which are good for calcium and fibre".

They called for more long-term, high-quality studies to further examine the role of breakfast in weight control.

The authors warned that because of the varying quality of the studies included, the findings should be interpreted with caution.

Participants included habitual/non-habitual breakfast eaters, or both, at a range of body weights who were monitored between 24 hours and 16 weeks.

And while skipping breakfast may not be the dietary evil it has often been portrayed to be, forgoing that first meal of the morning isn't likely to be a diet cure-all either, White noted. Some people like breakfast and some don't.

It's common for people on such protocols to break their fasts at lunchtime, regularly skipping breakfast and finishing their day's feeding with dinner at about 8pm. Another question relates to whether breakfast is a necessary component in weight loss strategies. One 2013 study looked at people who ate the same amount of calories, but one group consumed the bulk of the calories earlier in the day. "While waiting for guidelines to change, no harm can be done in trying out your own personal experiments in skipping breakfast", he concludes.

That would mean less snacking, less calories and an overall reduction in weight. Granted, that might be hard to practically hide from someone, but studies also rarely blinded the researchers who had to measure and calculate the results they got from the volunteers - another science no-no. Since, the impact of breakfast on weight did not contrast between individuals with typical weight and the individuals who were overweight.

"There's nothing protective about having a pastry, just because you eat it in the morning", she says.

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