Is Breakfast Key To Weight Loss? New Study Says Otherwise

The long held belief that weight loss starts with a healthy breakfast every morning is being put to the test. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is challenging that widely held belief with a new study called “The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial.”

The objective of the study, as outlined in the report, reads as follows: “Breakfast is associated with lower body weight in observational studies. Public health authorities commonly recommend breakfast consumption to reduce obesity, but the effectiveness of adopting these recommendations for reducing body weight is unknown.”

To find this out and test the relative effectiveness of eating versus skipping breakfast on weight loss in adults, the researchers randomly assigned a total of 309 participants and obese adults between the ages of 20 and 65 to either eat breakfast or skip the meal altogether. The results of the study found “this had no discernable effect on weight loss in free-living adults who were attempting to lose weight.”

Study author Emily Dhurandhar, an assistant professor in UAB’s department of health behavior, said in a recent news release that she thinks the results will change the way nutritionists and doctors view weight loss with their patients:

“Now that we know the general recommendation of ‘eat breakfast every day’ has no differential impact on weight loss, we can move forward with studying other techniques for improved effectiveness. We should try to understand why eating or skipping breakfast did not influence weight loss, despite evidence that breakfast may influence appetite and metabolism.”

But not everyone is convinced that breakfast and weight loss are unrelated. According to an article on Forbes.com, the study did not focus on all areas of a healthy diet, merely the final numbers when the trial concluded:

“Keep in mind that the study only looked at weight outcomes – not at any other aspect of health, like cardiovascular or metabolic health,” the article said. “So, the take-home message is that skipping breakfast may be OK for weight loss, but how it affects health overall is still up for grabs.”

A blog on found on the Doctor Oz web site further disputes this recent study, claiming that the consumption of more calories first thing in the morning, rather than at dinner, can help you slim down:

“The time of day that we eat can have a big impact on how our body processes food,” says Daniela Jakubowicz, a professor at Tel Aviv University and co-author of a July 2013 study published in the journal Obesity. “For effective weight loss, appropriate meal timing is more important than counting calories.”