Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day

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We have been told for many years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it allows the body to spring into action and prevents overeating later in the day.

According to new research, this may not be the case at all.

The study found that breakfast had very little impact on portion sizes later in the day or on snacking. It also had no effect on the metabolism rate.

The researchers, based at the University of Bath, have not offered suggestions which indicate that the improved health of those who eat breakfast could be attributed to their general diet.

They discovered no changes in metabolism after six weeks of monitoring those who skipped a morning meal and those who ate 700 calories prior to 11am, of which 350 did so within two hours of awakening.

The one important difference was that those who abstained from eating breakfast consumed fewer calories over the entire day.

This discovery goes against the theory that those who skip breakfast make up for it by overeating food later in the day.

Breakfast eaters were more likely to use more energy, about 442 calories, by being active in the morning after consuming breakfast. Their blood sugar readings were also more stable, particularly as the trial reached finalisation.

The idea for the research came about after the leader of the study, James Betts, became tired of people telling him to eat breakfast, which is something he never does.

He said that the belief that breakfast is the one daily meal you should never skip is so popular that many are surprised to find out that there is no scientific evidence to support this.

He added that it is true that those who regularly consume breakfast tend to be healthier and slimmer, however they also generally follow other healthy lifestyle recommendations and have a more active routine.

He stated that their research has allowed them to discover if breakfast is a cause, an effect or only a good health marker.

Another study, carried out by researchers based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, divided volunteers into three different groups. One group abstained from breakfast, another group faithfully ate breakfast and the third group continued as they normally would.

After four months, it was found that no-one in any of the groups had shed much weight. If they had, it was only about one pound.

Image Credit: Iryna Yeroshko

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Emma Brown

Emma graduated in 2005 from the University of York with a degree in English Literature. A huge passion for writing and health topics, Emma is a perfect match for Health News UK. Hobbies include; cooking, writing (of course), musicals and her 2 dogs.

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