I had a patient ask me this week about some recent studies that contradict what the medical field has been saying for decades about not skipping breakfast. I too have been telling patients about the importance of eating a good breakfast.
So I did some research on several corporate sponsored studies concerning weight loss and eating breakfast. Have we been incorrect all these years in stressing the importance of eating breakfast if you want to lose weight? Well kink of. These corporate sponsored studies were done with the intent of proving that if you skip breakfast your not going to lose weight. But instead, the studies showed that the breakfast eaters either did not lose any more weight than the breakfast skippers did or that in fact the breakfast skippers lost more weight than the breakfast eaters did when dieting.
So what is the deal? If someone is trying to lose weight should they skip breakfast? I would say yes and no. If breakfast means an extra 500 or 1000 calories ADDED to the daily total of calories then by all means skipping breakfast and those extra calories most likely will result in losing weight or at least gaining less weight depending on the daily caloric intake for that day.
But this study and the question of breakfast is missing the point. Science will agree that attempting to lose weight by skipping meals results in putting the body in a starvation mode and lowers metabolism. That was always the idea behind not skipping breakfast. Not to add calories but to spread the days total calories over at least three to four meals instead of one or two big meals.
I still recommend a small healthy breakfast of two hundred to four hundred calories to start the day and take your body out of starvation mode. But those calories should not be extra calories for the day meaning that lunch and dinner should be two to four hundred calories less than an otherwise famished individual who skipped breakfast.