Are breakfast-skipping individuals more likely to be overweight?
Increasing obesity rates are one of the most significant global health concerns. The relationship between skipping breakfast and body weight is inconsistent between cross-sectional and interventional studies. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to summarize this association based on longitudinal observational studies.
We included prospective studies on the relationship between skipping breakfast and adult overweight/obesity or weight change. The literature was combed through PubMed and Web of Science until September 2020. Using a random-effects model, summary risk ratios (RRs) or coefficients with a 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated in pairwise meta-analyses.
The systematic review included a total of nine studies, and three of them were included in the meta-analyses. When breakfast was skipped on 3 days per week compared to 2 days per week, the relative risk (RR) for overweight/obesity increased by 11% (95% CI: 1.04, 1.19; n = 2 studies).
What do the most robust studies conclude? How then do you study the effect of eating breakfast (or not eating breakfast) on weight? You would conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in which participants are randomly assigned to breakfast or no-breakfast groups, and then measure specific outcomes, such as daily calorie intake and weight.
RCTs are experiments in which confounding variables can be controlled for, allowing for more confident conclusion drawing. (However, RCTs can also have other issues, which we will discuss.) Researchers from Melbourne, Australia pooled the results of a number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on breakfast and weight and/or total daily energy intake.
They discovered 13 studies that met their criteria, which included defining breakfast’s composition and timing and being conducted in high-income nations (to be more comparable). Seven studies examined the effects of breakfast on weight change; after an average of seven weeks, participants who ate breakfast gained 1.2 pounds more than those who skipped breakfast.
This held true for both normal and obese individuals. Ten studies examined the effects of breakfast on total daily calorie intake; after an average of two weeks, participants who ate breakfast consumed 260 more calories than those who skipped breakfast. These findings disprove the notion that skipping breakfast leads to binge eating later on.
Numerous studies have linked eating close to bedtime with obesity, but this has nothing to do with breakfast.
Does skipping breakfast and lunch cause weight gain?
What happens to the body when it is deprived of food? – Decking the halls can be quite taxing, but don’t become so exhausted that you skip meals. Haley Robinson, a clinical dietitian at Piedmont, explains, “During the holidays, we are frequently too busy to sit down for a meal.” Some individuals believe that if they skip breakfast and lunch, they can indulge more at holiday dinners without exceeding their daily calorie limit.