Skipping breakfast IS linked to weight loss, new research shows.
Contrary to the popular belief, people who skip breakfast do NOT eat more later in the day to compensate.
Instead, they end up eating an average of 260 calories less per day.
People who skip breakfast feel no hungrier in the afternoon, neither are they less energetic.
Skipping breakfast could add up to around one pound of weight loss over several months.
The conclusions come from a review of 13 separate randomised controlled trials — the gold standard in science.
All the trials examined how much difference eating breakfast had on people’s weight and energy intake.
Whether people were overweight or not, skipping breakfast helped them lose weight and did not cause them to gain it.
The results showed that breakfast skippers ate fewer calories overall and therefore lost weight.
The findings may come as a surprise to many, writes Professor Tim Spector, in a linked article in the British Medical Journal:
“The mantra of breakfast being the most important meal of the day has been ingrained in most of us from an early age—from our mother’s mouth as we were late for school to government campaigns to get us to “go to work on an egg.”
We are told that breakfast helps our metabolism and that skipping it will make us much hungrier so we’ll over-eat and put on weight.”
Instead, this review finds the exact opposite, writes Professor Spector:
“…no evidence supports the claim that skipping breakfast makes you gain weight or adversely reduces your resting
Furthermore, reasonable evidence now suggests that skipping breakfast can actually be a useful strategy to reduce weight.”
Try skipping breakfast and see if it work, says Professor Spector:
“…no harm can be done in trying out your own personal experiments in skipping breakfast.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the BMJ (Sievert et al., 2019).