Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, contrary to popular belief that food eaten after a good night’s sleep is vital to kickstart metabolism and prevents snacking later in the day – according to a study by researchers at The University of Bath.
The Bath Breakfast Project, whose results were published in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition
, examined a group of people from the southwest of England, UK, between the ages of 21-60 to find causal links between breakfast habits and energy expenditure.
Researchers found that there was no change in metabolism after six weeks between those who ate nothing for breakfast and those who consumed 350 calories within two hours of waking
and 350 more calories before 11am.
Unexpectedly, those who abstained from breakfast ate fewer calories over the whole day – which contradicts the long-held belief that people who skip breakfast overeat later in the day.
However, the data showed that breakfast consumers were likely to expend more energy by being active after eating
– shedding approximately 442 calories in the morning. These breakfast eaters also had more stable blood sugar levels, especially by the end of the trial.
“The belief that breakfast is ‘the most important meal of the day’ is so widespread that many people are surprised to learn that there is a lack of scientific evidence showing
whether or how breakfast may directly cause changes in our health,” Dr James Betts, senior lecturer in nutrition, metabolism and statistics at The University of Bath – and co-author of the study – told The New York Times
“It is certainly true that people who regularly eat breakfast tend to be slimmer and healthier but these individuals also typically follow most other recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, so have more balanced diets and take more physical exercise.”
Another study published this month by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, US, split volunteers into three groups: one skipped breakfast, one always ate it and the third continued with their current regime. After four months, no-one in any group had lost any significant weight, according to The Daily Mail