The idea that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, especially for individuals who are trying to lose weight, may not be true, according to researchers at Monash University in Australia. Earlier research has suggested that including breakfast in the daily diet can improve metabolism, supply energy, and even help prevent snacking later in the day.
The British Diabetic Association says it has shown that individuals who eat breakfast have more balanced diets compared to those who skip it, and are unlikely to be overweight.
However, the new study, published in British Medical Journal, did not find any evidence to back these claims. It also challenges the previous studies that suggest skipping breakfast may disrupt internal clock of the body, leading to weight gain.
Now, the researchers suggested that addition of breakfast might not be a good strategy to shed the extra pounds, irrespective of established breakfast habit. Moreover, breakfast is likely to have the opposite effect on weight loss and therefore caution is required when recommending it to adults who are trying to lose weight. For the new research, the team analyzed 13 studies associated with effect of breakfast on bodyweight in high income countries, including Britain.
The studies mainly compared energy intake and body weight between people who ate breakfast and those who skipped it. The pooled results showed a very small difference between the two groups, with those who did not eat breakfast on average weighed 0.44 Kg lighter than those who did.
It also found that the overall energy intake of breakfast eaters was 260 calories per day on average, while those who skipped breakfast did not compensate by snacking later in the day. Further, the team did not find any evidence to support the idea that including breakfast in daily diet ramps up metabolism and help lose weight by increasing efficiency of burning calories.
The researchers warned that there are certain limitations to the study and the results should be interpreted with caution as follow up of the study participants lasted only short period of 2-16 weeks and the differences between the groups on calorie intake was relatively small.
Further research is needed to demonstrate the long-term effect of including or skipping breakfast as part of the daily diet.