A new study has found that breakfast probably isn’t the most important meal of that day and that dieters may have better luck losing weight if they skip the meal. Past observational studies have suggested that eating breakfast may be associated with a lower body weight, but the new study — which looked at existing research — found that people who skipped breakfast weighed less.
There’s a persistent myth that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” one that may have been heavily influenced by early marketing campaigns involving breakfast cereals. A number of studies have looked into the relationship between eating breakfast and body weight, some past work indicating that eating breakfast was linked to lower weights.
A new analysis by Monash University in Melbourne looked at data from 13 randomized, controlled trials across the UK and US over the last 28 years. Based on the studies, the researchers found that skipping breakfast didn’t have a profound effect on afternoon hunger levels and that people who skipped breakfast were on average of about 1lbs lighter than participants who ate breakfast.
There was no evidence found that people who skip breakfast have significant metabolic rate differences from people who eat breakfast. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should skip breakfast if it’s part of your daily habits — rather, there’s no strong evidence to justify forcing yourself to eat breakfast as part of a weight less effort.
The analysis looked at relatively low-quality studies and dieters should keep that in mind. The results highlight little difference between the two groups, though, indicating that eating breakfast may not be something worth stressing over.