Despite long-held beliefs and widespread medical recommendations, breakfast does not seem to play an important role in weight loss. A new meta-analysis shows no indication that breakfast reduces daily caloric intake and that weight gain is not worse among those who skip the meal.
"While breakfast has been advocated in the media since 1917 as the most important meal of the day, there is insufficient evidence to support breakfast consumption as a weight-loss strategy, including in the US adults with overweight or obesity," conclude the authors.
"This systematic review of randomized controlled trials examining weight change in adults consuming or omitting breakfast has found no evidence that breakfast consumption promotes weight loss or omits breakfast weight gain," they add ,
In her meta-analysis, Katherine Sievert and colleagues from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, evaluated data from 1
The study was published today in BMJ .
Although there were some discrepancies between the studies, overall there was a very small difference in weight that favored participants leaving breakfast (mean difference 0.44 kg).
Meanwhile, studies in which participants had received breakfast showed that they had a higher total daily energy intake than those who skipped breakfast (average difference 259.79 kcal / day), in contrast to the theories that one not consuming breakfast later leads to overcompensation.
"There was no indication that skipping breakfast was associated with increased daily caloric intake," say Sievert and colleagues.
In an accompanying editorial, Tim Spector, MD, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King & # 39; s College, London, UK, noted that the "drawbacks of breakfast failure are now compounded by several randomized studies ", which are being investigated in the current meta-analysis.  The conclusions were the same as in the recent, largely ignored qualitative reviews, adding, "There is no evidence to support the claim that breakfast increases at breakfast or decreases metabolic rate at rest."
Important overall The data highlights that metabolism may be more of an individualized approach than previously thought, and a one-size-fits-all approach may be pointless, he says.
Low quality studies included, interpretation of results with caution
Her article, Sievert and colleagues, explains that much of the research done so far that linked the consumption of breakfast to healthy weight is based on observational studies. However, these studies may have important reservations regarding the parity of the participants' lifestyle.
"There is data to suggest that these results of regular breakfast consumption in observational studies reflect a broader healthy lifestyle as healthier individuals with a higher socioeconomic status are more likely to eat breakfast explaining that healthy choices must be made," explain you. However, the studies in the current analysis had a number of reservations, including the fact that many either had a high or unclear risk of bias and follow-up. They were generally short and had an average of 7 weeks for weight and 2 weeks for the energy supply.
"Since the quality of the included studies was usually low, the results should be interpreted with caution," the authors emphasize.
In addition, the analysis, which focuses on weight management issues, fails to draw conclusions about the many other health benefits claimed for breakfast.
"Although regular breakfasts are important u Since the impact on childhood attention and concentration levels is important, caution should be exercised when recommending breakfast for adult weight loss, as this may have the opposite effect."
Could the good microbiome play a role?
In his editorial, Spector further states that evidence increasingly points to the potential benefits of fasting intervals in weight loss.
And possibly there is a connection between the intestinal microbiome and the timing and type of meals. he added. "The community of 100 billion intestinal microbes has a circadian rhythm and varies in composition and function in fasting and feeding conditions," he explains.
"Although this is a young discipline, some data suggest that microbial communities could benefit from short periods of fasting."
He concludes: "While waiting for the guidelines to change, it may Do not hurt if you try your own personal experiments skipping breakfast. "
BMJ. Published online January 30, 2019. Abstract, Editorial
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