Although previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast is linked to maintaining a healthy weight, new research published in the BMJ suggests eating breakfast may not actually be the best strategy for weight loss.
Researchers in Australia examined data from 13 randomised controlled trials and analysed the effect of regularly eating breakfast on weight change and daily energy intake.
They found total daily energy intake was on average around 260 calories higher per day in participants who ate breakfast compared with those who skipped breakfast, regardless of their usual breakfast habits. There was no evidence that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain. Meta-analysis of the results found a small difference in weight favouring participants who skipped breakfast (mean difference 0.44 kg; 95% CI 0.07-0.82).
The researchers stressed that the quality of studies was low, so the findings should be interpreted with caution but say that their review questions the popular recommendation that eating breakfast can help with weight control. “Although eating breakfast regularly could have other important effects, caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it may have the opposite effect,” they conclude.