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No evidence eating breakfast promotes weight-loss

June 20, 2014

Nutritionists regularly suggest you eat breakfast each morning for its health benefits, including weight-loss and maintenance. But new research led by UAB shows that — whether you regularly consume it or skip it altogether — weight-loss is not influenced.

Previous research, including an examination of 92 studies about the proposed effect of breakfast on obesity also performed at UAB, revealed an association between breakfast and weight-management, but did not consider the effects of skipping it.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, did.

It was important to test the common recommendation to eat breakfast to ensure this public health message was not misleading about behaviors that will or will not promote weight-loss, said Emily Dhurandhar, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and lead author.

“Previous studies have demonstrated correlation, but not necessarily causation,” Dhurandhar said. “In contrast, we used a large, randomized controlled trial to examine whether or not breakfast recommendations have a causative effect on weight-loss.”

This multisite, 16-week trial enrolled 309 otherwise healthy overweight and obese adults, ages 20-65. Experimental groups were told to eat or skip breakfast. The control group, which included people who did and did not eat breakfast, was provided nutrition information that did not mention breakfast.

Dhurandhar says that there was no identifiable effect of treatment assignment on weight-loss.

“Now that we know the general recommendation to eat breakfast every day has no differential impact on weight-loss, we can move forward with studying other techniques for improved effectiveness,” Dhurandhar said. “We should try to understand why eating or skipping breakfast did not influence weight-loss, despite evidence that breakfast may influence appetite and metabolism.” Read more here...