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Is breakfast always a good idea?

03 February 2019

BREAKFAST HAS traditionally been described as the most important meal of the day. There was also no evidence that they were less likely to overeat later in the day.

Now a review published by the British Medical Journal suggests that the notion of breakfast being "the most important meal of the day" may not be entirely accurate. "However there is no evidence that we should be encouraging people to change their eat pattern to include breakfast in order to prevent weight gain or obesity".

Or, to be more precise, eating a big breakfast may not help people control their weight in the way many previously assumed.

Previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast revs up the metabolism and can help dieters stop overeating later in the day.

In 2017, professor Terence Kealey, author of Breakfast is a Dangerous Meal, told the Telegraph how several studies championing breakfast were backed by food corporations.

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The researchers of the study aimed to stress upon previous studies that claimed eating breakfast may help with weight loss; however, no significant difference was observed in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers.

Prof Cicuttini tells SBS the researchers also conducted sub-analyses, eliminating data from the Japanese study to see if a person's culture impacted the relationship between breakfast consumption, weight and metabolism.

Researchers from Monash University in Melbourne analyzed 13 randomized controlled trials, comparing the effects of eating and skipping 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.

People who skipped breakfast did not compensate by eating more later in the day, the review found. "Or, you might just enjoy eating breakfast foods". Some research indicates optimum health outcomes if you open the eating window early in the day and close it early in the day - so time-restricted eaters may not be better off skipping breakfast.

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

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"If you eat breakfast, you won't metabolise [your food] better and you may still be hungry later on".

'On top of this, studies have shown time after time that people who skip breakfast are more likely to make less healthy choices later in the day - be it due to the feeling that they are "allowed" that treat because they've skipped a meal or because they're simply hungrier and in need of more energy.

Cicuttini and her team made a decision to round up and analyse as many relevant clinical trials on the topic as they could find to help settle the question, something scientists call a meta-analysis.

'So all in all, the benefit you may get from a slightly reduced calorie intake skipping breakfast will be far outweighed by the negative effects'.

"No 'one size fits all, ' and prescriptive slow moving diet guidelines filled with erroneous information look increasingly counterproductive and detract from important health messages".

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Is breakfast always a good idea?