Is Eating Breakfast Really Necessary For Weight Loss?
For decades we have been told that in order to lose weight we have to eat breakfast every day. But new scientific research casts doubt on this myth.
Where did this recommendation come from? One source may be from the National Weight Control Registry. This is a registry of individuals who have successfully lost over 35 pounds. They report their habits to the NWCR. This is a great reference looking at common habits of highly successful people. One of the most commonly reported habits among registrants is eating breakfast every day. So if it works for these individuals, then it must be true. Or is it?
A new paper published in the British Medical Journal February 2019 casts serious doubt on this assumption. While many observational studies have suggested that eating breakfast every day is helpful for lowering the body weight, this paper reviewed 13 randomized controlled trials designed to study whether or not eating breakfast is actually associated with a lower body weight.
So, did eating breakfast result in a lower body weight? Well, in short, the answer is “No.”
However, the paper does state that many of the studies were at high risk of bias and had only short-term follow-ups. So, while the existing studies do not prove a benefit, they really don’t prove that it isn’t helpful, either.
So, what’s our take? Well, at Clinical Nutrition Center, we have been helping our patients in Denver and surrounding communities not only lose weight but keep it off. After weight loss people experience a significant increase in hunger, drop in satiety and drop in metabolism. These metabolic adaptations are unavoidable. We have found that frequent small meals, starting with breakfast to be a very helpful strategy to deal with these metabolic changes. And, we have found that fixed calorie meal replacements containing 15 grams of protein (2 ounces) really help stave off the hunger. In addition to breakfast, we find that people who eat frequently seem to deal with this post-weight loss change in appetite hormones better than people who don’t eat all day (and then eat all night).
As usual, different strategies work for different people. The key is to find out what works best for you.