Is Breakfast Overrated?

Breakfast may be "just another meal."
Breakfast may be "just another meal." (iStock photo)

Breakfast, it has long been said, is the most important meal of the day. But new research suggests that may not necessarily be so.

In fact, a spate of new studies by several universities—published in multiple articles in the August issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition—are challenging how conventional health experts view the first meal of the day, The New York Times reports.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and other institutions, for instance, have concluded breakfast plays virtually no role in weight loss. The findings are based on a study of nearly 300 volunteers who were randomly assigned subjects to skip breakfast, always eat the meal, or continue with their current dietary habits

After 16 weeks, the researchers found no one had lost much weight, regardless of whether someone ate breakfast or skipped it.

In another new study, researchers at the University of Bath tracked metabolic rates, cholesterol levels, and blood-sugar profiles of 33 people randomly assigned to eat or skip breakfast. After six weeks, their body weights, resting metabolic rates, cholesterol, and most measures of blood sugar were unchanged, regardless of whether people ate breakfast or not.

The findings suggest that in terms of weight loss, "breakfast may be just another meal," said Emily Dhurandhar, the assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who led the study there.

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