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Breakfast is no longer the most important meal of the day: new study: SBS Food



Hold on to your croissant and spicy shakshuka eggs: the new Australian research has just destroyed one of the most widespread food myths, essential for the diets of people of all cultures in developed countries around the world.

Despite what we've been told for years, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day for weight loss or to prevent the onset of hunger.

A review published in The BMJ today suggests that all meals are created equal and there is good evidence to support the idea that breakfast promotes weight loss or that breakfast leads to weight gain.

Research also shows that you do not need to eat a good breakfast to prepare you for the day or prevent you from hanging yourself later.

"We found that breakfast is not the most important time of day to eat, although that belief is really entrenched in our society and around the world," says the co-author of the study, a professor at Monash University and chief of rheumatology of the Alfred Hospital. Flavia Cicuttini.

"If you eat breakfast, you will not metabolize [your food] better and you may still be hungry later. If a person is trying to lose weight or manage calorie intake, there is no evidence that changing their eating plan to eat breakfast will help them. "

"We found that breakfast is not the most important time of day to eat, even if that belief is really entrenched in our society and around the world."

Previous studies have suggested that breakfast intake is linked to maintaining a healthy weight, but these findings have been observational and may reflect the healthy lifestyle and food choices of an individual.

Meanwhile, this new study, conducted by researchers at Monash University, used evidence from 13 randomized controlled trials in developed countries, including USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan for 28 years to determine the effect of regular weight change and daily energy consumption.

The study found that total daily energy intake was higher in groups who ate breakfast compared to those who consumed an average of 260 calories consumed in a day, regardless of their usual breakfast habits. Participants who skipped breakfast were also 0.44 kg lighter on average.

The effect of breakfast on weight did not differ between people with normal weight and those with excess weight. There was no significant difference in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and captains.

Prof Cicuttini tells SBS the researchers also performed sub-analyzes, eliminating data from the Japanese study to see if a person's culture impacted the relationship between breakfast consumption, weight and metabolism. The results showed that the culture of an individual had no impact.

"There's nothing protective about having a batter just because you eat it in the morning. It has the same impact on your calorie intake if you have it at breakfast, as if you did at 4:00 p.m. "

The results reveal that eating a healthy breakfast after waking up can have the same impact on your body as having a great dinner before bed.

So should we be drinking small breakfasts instead of big meals and maybe start the day as said the Italian or French culture with a simple coffee and pasta or a loaf of bread, and enjoy a great lunch? Is a small light breakfast the way to go?

Prof Cicuttini explains that focus should not be placed when we eat our biggest meal of the day – whether at lunch or at breakfast – but at the total daily calorie content.

"There's nothing protective about having a batter, just because you eat it in the morning," she says. "It has the same impact on your calorie intake if you take it for breakfast, as if you had it at 4:00 p.m.

"The great myth that prevailed is that somehow, if you eat breakfast, it will be safer than if you do not eat breakfast. However, this study suggests that if you have a cake and coffee in the morning, you will have to watch what you eat the rest of the day. A pastry shop is a pastry shop, it's a pastry shop. "

"So if you eat breakfast and it suits you then you should not change, but what we tend to see is that there is a strong push to eat breakfast because" you should. "Well, the evidence now says this is not the case. "

No need to be a breakfast hater

Prof Cicuttini wants breakfast lovers to know that the authors of the study are not anti-breakfast. "There are many reasons why people eat breakfast – growing children may want to eat before going to school, older people may need to eat after taking their medication or it may be a cultural tradition," she says. "Or you may just enjoy eating food for breakfast.

"So if you eat breakfast and it suits you then you should not change, but what we tend to see is that there is a strong push to eat breakfast because" you should. "Well, the evidence now says this is not the case. "

More research is needed on the impact of breakfast on metabolism and weight. However, as the study says, "currently available evidence does not support the modification of diets in adults to include breakfast consumption as a good strategy for weight loss."


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