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Skipping Breakfast May Not Lead to Weight Gain

Small study found it did not make college students eat more later in the day, contrary to popular belief
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"I have found ... that those who skip breakfast and go into the rest of the day very hungry tend to make high-fat choices, with compromised fruit and vegetable intake," Santori said.

Skipping breakfast also can lead to feelings of low energy and fatigue, which may result in lower overall activity levels. "For overall health, well being and weight control, I recommend consuming a healthy breakfast daily," she said.

The new study also was conducted on normal-weight individuals and may not translate to overweight or obese people, Santori said. "Skipping meals as a behavior has been strongly linked to obesity," she said.

A recent study in the journal Circulation showed that men who skip breakfast may be more likely to have a heart attack than men who eat breakfast every morning. The study authors speculated that missing the morning meal leads to weight gain and other heart disease risk factors associated with obesity.

"The [Cornell] study does not change my recommendation to start the day with breakfast," said registered dietitian Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. The study was small and took place in a lab, so the findings can't be generalized to real-life eating settings, she said.

Another expert agreed.

"Based on this small study, we can't say that it doesn't matter whether you eat breakfast as far as weight control goes for the average person," said Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. "There are many reasons why you should eat breakfast that are not related to caloric intake."

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