Is breakfast always a good idea?

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New Australian research has found that despite breakfast often being touted as "the most important meal of the day", it may not be as important for weight loss as previously thought.

Past studies have argued that eating breakfast can help people maintain a healthy weight by speeding up our metabolism and reducing the likelihood of overeating later through the day.

In 2017, professor Terence Kealey, author of Breakfast is a Dangerous Meal, told the Telegraph how several studies championing breakfast were backed by food corporations.

Monash University in Melbourne reviewed 13 studies from the last 28 years in high income countries around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, examining weight and energy intake from breakfast consumption.

But a new analysis found that people who ate breakfast regularly consumed more calories each day and those who skipped it didn't have an increased appetite later in the day.

Its reputation as the nutritional backstop to our day stems from observational studies showing a positive link between people eating breakfast and having a healthy weight.

The authors did acknowledge that more research is needed before we can actually establish strong and well-informed guidelines. The results highlight little difference between the two groups, though, indicating that eating breakfast may not be something worth stressing over.

Notably, they reported finding no evidence of improved metabolism among the ones who ate breakfast.

According to The Independent, Dr Frankie Phillips, registered dietician for the British Dietetic Association, told Press Assocation: "Whilst some studies do show that people who eat breakfast tend to be a healthier weight, there is no clear benefit of starting to eat breakfast just as a tool to lose weight". Rather, it's that breakfast probably isn't the magic weight-loss solution it's sometimes made out to be, so it shouldn't be prescribed to everyone.

While previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast may help with weight loss because of the efficient burning of calories early in the day preventing overeating later on, reviewers found no significant difference in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers. "Regularly eat Breakfast may have a positive effects. It has the same impact on your calorie intake if you have it for breakfast as though you have it at 4pm".

Writing in the BMJ, they said: "Caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it could have the opposite effect".

But experts say a healthy breakfast can be a good source of calcium and fibre.

But she also noted that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to eating breakfast.

The research also shows that you don't have to eat a good breakfast in order to set you up for the day or to stop you from getting hangry later in afternoon.

Prof Cicuttini explains that the focus should be not placed on when we eat our largest meal of the day - whether it's at lunch or breakfast - but on total daily calorie content.

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