Effect of breakfast on weight change and energy intake

Effect of breakfast on weight change and energy intake
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New research suggests that eating breakfast may not be a good idea if one wants to lose weight. Adding breakfast to the diet may hinder weight loss efforts in adults as it could have the opposite effect. 

Obesity is one of the biggest health issues of the present time. Being overweight is associated with increased risk of chronic illness such as arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Weight gain is on the rise across all population groups in high-income countries. Government and public health groups are making efforts to manage the effects of this problem, which is proving to be a global burden.

However, several dietary recommendations suggest that inclusion of breakfast is important for weight management. These recommendations stem from the opinion that skipping breakfast leads to more energy consumption as the day progresses.  

It is believed that eating at the start of the day can promote greater satisfaction than eating later in the day. However, the concepts of weight control by both health professionals are based on findings of observational studies.

Although these theories have potential for bias because those who eat breakfast might vary from those who do not, including socioeconomic status and other health-related behaviours such as consuming a healthy balanced diet. 

More recent results from various controlled trials do not support breakfast consumption for weight loss. The study recommends regular breakfast consumption can adversely affect weight loss efforts by adding calories to diets. This is especially relevant to older people who have to establish eating habits. 

The review of controlled trials observing weight change in adults eating or skipping breakfast found no evidence to support the belief that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain or that consuming breakfast promotes weight loss. Moreover, it was observed that eating breakfast increased total daily energy intake compared to skipping breakfast. 

This analysis questions the recommendation for breakfast consumption aimed at weight loss in adults and has recognised that calorie intake might actually result in weight gain. This study adds that regardless of established breakfast routine, modification of diet to include consumption of breakfast might not be a good strategy to lose weight.

However, the findings should be interpreted with caution, as more high-quality trials are required to further examine the role of eating breakfast in an overall weight management approach.It is important the studies are conducted for a longer period of time to further investigate the long term effect of including or skipping breakfast.

The evidence from this study does not support modifying a diet as a strategy to improve weight loss. While breakfast has been known to be the most important meal of the day, there is evidence to support that regular breakfast consumption to achieve weight loss, can actually contribute to obesity.

Source: BMJ
Image Credit: iStock

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Published on : Fri, 15 Feb 2019

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