Eating Breakfast May Not Be a Key to Weight Loss After All

Photo-of-breakfast-not-key-to-weightloss-LocateADocMost of us grew up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is also generally thought that eating breakfast helps one lose weight, or at the very least helps to maintain your weight. Recent health and wellness studies have brought that conventional wisdom into question. It is possible that eating early in the morning is simply a correlation, and not causation, of weight loss.

These studies have questioned the validity of previous research that concluded how beneficial breakfast was to a person's waistline. They claim that older studies were observational in nature, meaning they did not accurately reveal cause and effect relationships. For instance, people who were studied that ate breakfast and lost weight may have been doing other things to cause the weight loss.

Somewhat ironically, trying to lose weight is one of the most cited reasons for a person to skip breakfast. This reinforces the cause and effect claim since people wanting to lose weight are generally heavier, which would lead observational studies to show overweight people not eating breakfast.

A health and wellness study this June took to the gold standard of medical research, a randomized controlled trial. For it, participants did not get to choose whether they ate in the morning or not, it was assigned. This allowed for control of cause and effect. People doing other things to lose weight would randomly be eating or not eating, depending on which group they were put in.

The study showed, overall, that there was a similar or even reduced intake of calories for those who skipped breakfast. So, all things being equal, those that skipped would lose weight since they were ingesting fewer calories. This confirmed the cause and effect bias of previous observational studies since people eating breakfast in those generally experienced weight loss.

One thing to note: this newest health and wellness study was conducted over a relatively short period of time with a small sample size. While the findings are valid, they may not be absolute.

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