Recently, the American Society for Nutrition published a study was released claiming it had proved that eating breakfast in the morning was not related to weight loss. It got a lot of media attention, but may be sending a misleading message. Multitudes of studies have been published on the topic of eating breakfast vs. skipping breakfast and the health effects it may have.
This study claims there is no correlation between eating breakfast or not eating breakfast and weight loss, saying that both eating breakfast and skipping breakfast “had no discernable effect on weight loss in free-living adults who were attempting to lose weight.” The trouble with this study is that the type and portion size of foods consumed in the breakfast test groups were not controlled and the study participants consisted of overweight and obese adults who were trying to lose weight already. This means that there were likely to be other factors contributing to weight loss, such as exercise of dietary adjustments in ways other than breakfast.
Weight loss is a complicated subject and highly variable from person to person. People are often mislead to believe that fad diets and blanket diet regimens are the divine answer to weight loss they have been looking for. Individual’s body types and physiology are all unique, which requires a unique combination of therapies including, but not limited to, diet change, exercise, behavioral change and sometimes psychological counseling. Therefore, singling out the choice to eat or not eat breakfast as a means to prove its ability to single-handedly cause someone to lose weight or not, is really not relevant. If you break down the sole activity of eating breakfast, there are many facets that influence diet and health within this one activity. First and foremost, what are you eating for breakfast? There is a big difference between a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin and homemade green smoothie. The recent breakfast study left the breakfast food choices completely uncontrolled, allowing participants to consume anything they desired. It does state that the participants chosen for this study were “otherwise healthy overweight and obese (BMI between 25 and 40)” adults “trying to lose weight in a free-living setting,” but having the intention to try to lose weight has no correlation with ability to eat a healthy diet. Being that the majority of the study’s participants were considered overweight or obese, I have good reason to believe these participants are likely to not be educated on what constitutes a healthy diet.
Although a clear correlation between breakfast consumption and metabolism has yet to be made, there are many research studies, covering different age groups, socioeconomic and ethnic populations that have shown that skipping breakfast all together is associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes, especially in children and adolescents. This paints a pretty obvious picture that consuming breakfast is the healthier choice. Now that we know eating breakfast is a healthy decision, we should focus on how to make healthy food choices in our daily lives.
In conclusion, diet alone is not enough to implement a healthy weight loss program, let alone one meal’s ability to be a true indicator on weight loss control. Eating breakfast is important and what foods as well as the portion size you choose to consume for breakfast are even more important.
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