In a world of misinformation, Fitness Pudding is here to separate fact from fallacy, and science from fiction.

Is It Really That Bad to Skip Breakfast?

Is It Really That Bad to Skip Breakfast?

breakfastHere is an interesting article examining a historical and scientific perspective on if skipping breakfast is really that bad (for weight loss).

A few notes to add:

The Largest Study on Breakfast and Weight Loss

The web article does refer to the largest breakfast and weight loss study to date, led by Dr. David Allison's wonderful research team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.1 In this study, 283 participants classified as overweight or obese were randomly assigned to a group to either eat breakfast or skip breakfast for 16 weeks.

They found that, "... this RCT [study] showed no effect of a recommendation to eat or skip breakfast on weight loss." 1

To paint a picture of where we are in the research, they concluded that,"Because a general recommendation to eat or skip breakfast did not influence weight loss in this study, future research might assess whether more specific recommendations with regard to the timing and quantity of meals or meal compositions might improve weight-loss outcomes." 1

Other Benefits

The web article is mainly examining the usefulness of breakfast (or not) with weight loss, and not other potential health or performance benefits of morning nutrition.

Thus, I highly recommend you read Dr. David Katz' take on this topic, Debunking Breakfast, which covers other potential perils and benefits of breakfast. Also, enjoy several relevant and informative NutritionFacts.org videos on breakfast.

Everyone is Different

Finally, I think we should highlight that everyone is different. Eating a healthy, fiber-rich and nutritious breakfast is probably a good idea.

For example, results from the National Weight Control Registry, which includes members who have lost an average of 72-73 lbs, and kept the weight off for more than 5 years. Among the Registry's findings,

"... 78% of registry members report eating breakfast every day of the week. Only 4% report never eating breakfast." 2

So, the majority (but not all) of those successful with maintenance of weight loss, ate breakfast. Everyone is different.

Remember that breakfast is one piece of the puzzle, and we should do well to consider its fit into the larger goal of living a healthy lifestyle each day. For example:

  1. Does skipping breakfast make you eat too much at later meals?
  2. Does skipping breakfast lead encourage you to choose unhealthy options later in the day?
  3. What is the quality of your breakfast? Would you consider it healthy?

With that said, I now have an odd craving for breakfast. For those interested (probably none of you), it will most likely be a piece of 100% whole grain toast with almond butter, a banana, and a plant-based protein shake.

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References

  1. Dhurandhar, E. J., Dawson, J., Alcorn, A., Larsen, L. H., Thomas, E. A., Cardel, M., ... & Apovian, C. M. (2014). The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(2), 507-513.
  2. Wing, R. R., & Hill, J. O. (2001). Successful weight loss maintenance. Annual Review of Nutrition, 21(1), 323-341.

 

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