How often do we hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
Although many experts still recommend it, the research is far from conclusive. If you often find yourself skipping breakfast in a hurry is it really an issue, or, could it actually be beneficial?
Some of the latest literature in the breakfast debate suggests that skipping breakfast could in fact be an effective way of reducing calorie intake and dropping fat. Let’s take a closer look at this particular study…
Habitual breakfast eaters and habitual skippers were recruited for the study. They were then randomly assigned to one of two groups.
The first study investigated the effects of participants in 3 different conditions:
- No breakfast,
- A high carbohydrate breakfast providing 330 calories,
- A high fiber breakfast 360 kcal.
All groups were then allowed free choice at lunch, i.e. they could eat whatever they wanted.
The first study showed that it doesn’t matter what you eat for breakfast nor how much you eat, it will not reduce the amount of food you eat for lunch. In other words, the breakfast eaters still ate a similar amount at lunch, despite consuming calories in the morning and having less hunger.
The second study provided a larger, carbohydrate based breakfast but participants were allowed to chose how much they ate. By choice, the average total intake came out at 629 calories. They then compared this to a group that skipped breakfast.
In the second study, skipping breakfast significantly increased hunger and the amount of food eaten at lunch (144 kcal on average). However, the most important point that most people fail to understand is that this increase wasn’t enough to compensate for the caloric deficit created by skipping breakfast.
As a result, the participants who skipped breakfast ended up with net deficit of around 408 kcal more calories. Remember, reducing total daily calories is key for fat loss and 408 calories is a very large difference.. supporting the breakfast skippers.
This study shows that skipping breakfast may actually be an effective tool in weight loss. There’s nothing magical, apart from that fact its a very easy method to drop calories each day (which is key).
This in part explains the success of Intermittent Fasting protocols, to read more on that click HERE.
So if you don’t actually care for breakfast or, the next time when you are in a rush for work, you can relax knowing that skipping breakfast may actually HELP you burn fat!
Levitsky, D. A., & Pacanowski, C. R. (2013). Effect of skipping breakfast on subsequent energy intake. Physiology & behavior, 119, 9-16.