HealthBeat

HealthBeat

The breakfast debate

Researchers are questioning whether breakfast really helps with weight loss.

Two trials tested the merits of the most important meal of the day and were published in the August issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The studies tested the main breakfast claims that is helps with weight loss and boosts metabolism, according to a Time article.

As a scientist, I was quite shocked actually at how sparse the evidence base was,” study author James Betts, a senior lecturer in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, told Time.

In one study off 33 lean adults, researchers instructed participants to eat either nothing or a 700-calorie breakfast.

After six weeks, researchers found that eating breakfast didn’t increase metabolism and breakfast-skippers didn’t overeat at lunch. Breakfast eaters didn’t lose more weight either, according to the article.

In a larger and longer study, researchers assigned 300 overweight and obese people to one of three groups: eat breakfast, skip breakfast or the control group told to have a healthy diet.

“What we found was absolutely no difference in the change of weight among the three groups, severely calling into question the idea—at least among ordinary adults—that it’s important to eat a good breakfast every day for the purposes of weight control,” study author David Allison told Time.

The trials did find perks for breakfast eaters, however.

People who ate breakfast were more active, burning 442 calories more than non-breakfast-eaters. Those who ate breakfast also maintained steadier blood sugar levels, according to the article.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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