Breakfast Doesn't Help Weight Loss, New Study Shows
Blues for Breakfast
I cannot remember a time when breakfast was anything other than the most important meal of the day. The street credentials on breakfast are awesome. It is the Babe Ruth of the three squares, and if a crunchy cereal Hall of Fame is ever erected it will have breakfast to thank.
Breakfast was certainly my favorite meal of the day when I was a child. The entertainment value alone was worth the price of admission plus one penny more. Why, if two egg yellows were on a plate with a strip of bacon beneath, it made a face. The genius of this to a four-year-old cannot be overestimated.
Cereal was the staple of the breakfast table in those days, and the boxes that cereal called home were treasure troves. Not only were there puzzles and brain teasers on the back of the box, but there very well could be a prize inside, as well. The lunch time tuna sandwich or the meatloaf at dinner never came with a prize. Not only was breakfast the most important meal of the day, but it was also the most magnanimous.
Moreso, breakfast tunes up the metabolism, prevents obverindulgence at lunch, and helps with weight loss. These important points were one degree below "who cares" on my childhood barometer, but they are in fact at the core of breakfast's status.
A new study now suggests that the virtues of breakfast may be a bit overinflated.
A Broken Link?
While breakfast has a good number of health benefits, aiding in weight loss may not be among them.
Research has traditionally shown a link between skipping breakfast and being overweight although causation has never been proven. On the other hand, the assumption that starting the day with breakfast is useful for weight loss has at least strong observatonal evidence.
The National Weight Control Registry, of which I am a member, is a mass of people who have lost at least thirty pounds and kept the weight off. Among this group, 80% eat breakfast daily and another 90% eat breakfast at least five days per week.
The latest study raises some questions though.
The Latest Study
Three hundred and nine participants were divided into three groups. All receievd a pamphlet entitled "Let's Eat for the Health of It." No mention of breakfast was given to the first group. The second group was instructed to eat breakfast before 10am each day. Finally the third group was told to avoid anything but water until eleven am. The group was monitored for sixteen weeks and their weights were recorded regularly. Two hundred and eighty-three of the subjects completed the study.
All three groups lost about the same amoint of weight on average and breakfast was not shown to have any significant effect on the results.
Limitations of the study include allowing participants to eat whatever they wanted so that no conclusions could be made about how much food or what kinds of food should be eaten at breakfast. In addition, the study participants did not have their appetites, body fat, or metabolisms measured. Prior research has shown that all three may be affected by eating breakfast.
Living life well-fed,
My Bariatric Life
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