Research

Does eating breakfast help you lose weight? What research says?

A new study, published in the BMJ, found that there’s no strong evidence to support this idea that eating breakfast aids weight loss.

Eating a meal in the morning can be good for your diet but it doesn’t cause weight loss. Skipping breakfast allows you to save some calories for later in the day. For some starvers, this shows that they eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight faster.

Some studies in the past proposed that eating morning meal might promote weight loss while skipping breakfast might lead to weight gain.

The researchers observed the data from 13 randomized controlled trials. These trials were conducted mostly in the United States and the United Kingdom over the past three decades.

They observed that breakfast eaters have a tendency to consume more calories per day than those who skipped it. Typically, breakfast eaters consume 260 more calories in a day. It means it’s questionable that they ate meaningfully lighter at other meals even if they consumed extra calories in the morning.

They also found that the individuals who ate breakfast tended to weigh a little more than those who skipped it. Averagely, people who consume breakfast were 0.44 kilograms (15.5 ounces) heavier. But does this indicate that breakfast is “unhealthy”? Not exactly.

According to the authors of the study, although eating morning meal regularly could have many important effects, like improved concentration and alertness levels in childhood, carefulness is required when commending breakfast for weight loss in adults.

Low quality of evidence

But researchers found that more research is required to observe the role of breakfast in weight management. According to them, the present data on this matter is of limited quality.

For instance, most of the assessed clinical trials comprised small numbers of participants. Only two of the trials involved more than 50 individuals.

Also, the average length of the trials was short. As, they were conducted over periods of 2 to 16 weeks, providing no indication of the long-term effects of breakfast habits.

The consequences also differed from one trial to another. Like, 8 trials suggested that breakfast eaters consume more calories per day than breakfast skippers, but 2 trials found the opposite. This clearly explains that the quality of the data is low and the outcomes need to be interpreted with caution.

The research proposes that the welfares of morning meal are beyond weight. However, at the end of the day, nutritional necessities are very individual. It is significant that you seek a registered dietitian for personalized nutrition recommendations.

What’s the healthiest breakfast?

After this review, some specialists have raised apprehensions about the contents of the breakfasts that were given to people in clinical trials.

After looking at the intervention groups, it was found that what they were given for breakfast is not usually what experts recommend people eat.

For instance, in several trials, participants were given processed cereals, like Kellogg’s Rice Krispies or Frosted Flakes. In one research, participants were given white bread with strawberry jam. These diets are low in fiber and protein and high in refined carbohydrates.

But researchers found that whether this would cause weight gain, as if you have a certainly high-carbohydrate breakfast, particularly without protein or fiber, which makes them hungry again sooner. Also, it makes your blood sugar rise fast, and your body secretes lots of insulin to pull it back down, and then people get hungry again.

Moreover, it’s not the breakfast affecting our weight but what we are eating for breakfast. Breakfasts rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats can aid people to feel full for a longer period than highly refined carbohydrate meals. This is the reason that it is not sufficient to count calories.

Instead, researchers encourage to pay attention to the contents of macronutrient present in meals and choose diets rich in nutrients.

Breakfast is a chance of getting essential nutrients

Breakfast is not a sure-fire mode to lose weight, but it might have many other benefits. As, it gives a chance of getting the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients required for optimal health.

Skipping breakfast is practically seen as a missed chance for getting these nutrients that most Americans are not getting, like fiber, potassium, and calcium.

Consuming nutrient-rich foods later in the day, then skipping morning meal might not be problematic. But many breakfast skippers reach for unhealthy snacks instead.

This is the reasons why experts encourage many clients to start their day with breakfast. Though, it is also important to take people’s individual preferences and needs into account.

Overall, researchers recommend breakfast. But there are some people where it may or may not make a difference with.

No one-size-fits-all approach

In the end, there is no one-size-fits-all method of healthy eating or weight management. Everyone responds to different foods in a different way. Moreover, it has been found that what works for one individual may not always work for another.

Therefore, it is important to speak with the individual, find out what has worked for them in the past, and try to make things workable.

The healthiest approach for those who eat breakfast is to choose foods rich in nutrients and low in unhealthy fats and refined sugars.

Balanced breakfast is very important for the proper nourishment of your body. Aim to include a source of healthy fats, whole grains, protein, and a vegetable or fruit.

Try to limit breakfast foods which are processed and high in refined sugars. Eating nutritious foods through the rest of the day is also significant for supporting not only weight management but good health.

The bottom line

New research discovers there is still not sufficiently clear evidence that breakfast will aid with weight loss.

But experts say eating a morning meal can be useful to your health in many other ways. They point out that a balanced breakfast is likely a good choice, even if it does not lead to a thinner waistline.

As people who eat breakfast regularly often have increased physical activity. They have a lower intake of snacks and better dietary profiles.

Sophie Abram

Sophie Abram is an author at Top Health Journal. She has a master’s degree in Biochemistry. Evidence-based nutrition is her passion and she loves to devote her career to informing the general public about it. She has extensive experience as a researcher and her research focus is within food reformulation, improving food supply and food environments. Her research examines how nutrition, dietary supplements, and exercise affects human body composition.

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