Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

Breakfast Key to Weight Control? Maybe Not

Recommendation to eat breakfast every day for weight loss wasn't confirmed in testing

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- New research refutes the common belief that skipping breakfast could contribute to obesity.

Instead, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found that passing on the first meal of the day doesn't help or hinder efforts to lose weight.

"The field of obesity and weight loss is full of commonly held beliefs that have not been subjected to rigorous testing; we have now found that one such belief does not seem to hold up when tested," senior investigator David Allison, director of the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center, said in a university news release. "This should be a wake-up call for all of us to always ask for evidence about the recommendations we hear so widely offered."

The study involved 309 overweight and obese adults between the ages of 20 and 65. The otherwise healthy participants were randomly told to eat breakfast or skip the meal. The study also included a control group that was given healthy nutrition information, but not any specific instructions about breakfast. People in this control group included those who ate breakfast and those who skipped breakfast.

The researchers analyzed the effects of eating or skipping breakfast on weight loss. They also examined how changing breakfast habits could influence efforts to shed unwanted pounds.

"Previous studies have mostly demonstrated correlation, but not necessarily causation," study author Emily Dhurandhar, an assistant professor in UAB's department of health behavior, said in the news release. "In contrast, we used a large, randomized, controlled trial to examine whether or not breakfast recommendations have a causative effect on weight loss, with weight change as our primary outcome."

The study, published online June 4 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed there was no difference in weight loss among the various groups.

"We should try to understand why eating or skipping breakfast did not influence weight loss, despite evidence that breakfast may influence appetite and metabolism," Dhurandhar noted.

Also, the findings only included body weight and did not examine the effects of breakfast habits on people's appetite, body fat and metabolism, she said.

"In addition, our study was 16 weeks in duration, which is longer than many previous studies; but it is not clear whether an effect of the recommendation would be clearer from an even longer duration study," Dhurandhar added. "Finally, we gave subjects a recommendation of what a healthy breakfast is, but left their choices of breakfast foods up to their discretion."

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
Woman trying clothes / dress
Assessment
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections