Fact or Fiction: Breakfast impacts weight loss?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Even if breakfast may not affect weight loss, it’s still an important meal of the day.

Nutrition experts often stress the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. As the first meal of the day, breakfast basically kickstarts our metabolism – the chemical processes by which we grow and make energy – and it prevents cravings for unhealthy foods later on. However, two new studies have found that while breakfast does boost our health, it doesn’t necessarily affect weight loss.

In the first 12-week-long study, experimenters divided a dieting group of overweight participants, telling some to eat breakfast and others to skip it. According to the results of the study, this had no effect on their weight loss. The participants who ate breakfast lost about the same amount of weight as those forbidden from eating food in the morning.

Wait a second, doesn’t breakfast make it easier to lose weight by boosting your metabolism? According to a separate study, the answer is a bit murky. Researchers examined whether scarfing down breakfast at the start of a busy day really affected metabolism. Just like the previous study, participants were split into groups that either skipped the meal or not for a period of six weeks. The people who passed on breakfast consumed about 20% less than the participants in the other group, but according to the data, their metabolism wasn’t significantly affected.

I don’t know about you, but this leaves me with a burning question: should I skip breakfast or not?! Well, keep in mind that these studies were specifically interested in the impact of breakfast on weight loss, not its overall nutritional value or impact on our health. There’s still plenty of evidence that suggests a hearty morning meal improves focus throughout the day! Plus, there’s many other studies showing breakfast helps you lose weight, so just to be safe, make sure to have yourself a nutritious meal early in the day. You’re also less likely to be hungry later if you chow down not too long after waking up.

Featured image courtesy of Meg Lessard on Flickr. Image of cereal courtesy of shallowend on Flickr.