Breakfast Not Key to Weight Loss After All

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The effect of breakfast on weight did not differ between people with a normal weight and those who were overweight.

Cicuttini's team pooled results from 13 clinical trials from high-income countries, mainly the United States and the UK, from the last 28 years.

The researchers concluded that working out the long-term effect of skipping or adding breakfast to diets still needed more research.

"We found that breakfast is not the most important time of the day to eat, even though that belief is really entrenched in our society and around the world."

The researchers in Australia also found that eating breakfast could still have some important effects such as improved concentration and attentiveness levels in children.

"But plan what you have as it's far better to take breakfast with you than to grab a chocolate muffin and a latte from the nearest coffee shop when you get hungry later".

"I think the key to weight loss is the number of calories you eat", said Cicuttini. The ones who skipped breakfast were found to be 0.44 kg lighter on an average.

As a result, the researchers say caution is needed when recommending the eating of breakfast for weight loss in adults as it could have the opposite effect.

Those who did not eat breakfast lost on average a pound more than those who did, consuming about 260 fewer calories a day, researchers found.

Habitual and non-habitual breakfast eaters were studied while test subjects with a range of body weights were assessed over periods ranging from 24 hours to 16 weeks.

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"The study shows that simply having breakfast isn't a magic recipe for weight loss for everyone".

However, Spector (himself a breakfast eater) acknowledged that time-restricted feeding is a "young discipline" that may only prove effective for "certain people".

We've been told for decades that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for those watching their weight. "Do what works best for you", said review senior author Flavia Cicuttini. People who always eat breakfast shouldn't be discouraged from doing so, she said.

Kevin Murphy, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Imperial College London, said in an email to CNN that the study's "analysis suggests that eating breakfast is, on average, likely to make it more hard to lose weight, as you eat more calories during the day".

However, "in reality, whether breakfast helps or hinders your efforts to prevent weight gain or lose weight will depend on the individual, added Murphy, who was not involved in the research".

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), they said: "This study suggests that the addition of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss, regardless of established breakfast habit".

Coe said in an email that the "findings of this review may not fit with existing recommendations, but they reflect the current uncertainty about the relationship between eating breakfast and weight within the scientific literature".

It's common for people on such protocols to break their fasts at lunchtime, regularly skipping breakfast and finishing their day's feeding with dinner at about 8pm.

Coe, who was not involved in the research, added that a healthy breakfast is "just one part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle".

But experts say a healthy breakfast can be a good source of calcium and fibre.

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