It's advice we've heard many times before: skipping breakfast is bad for the health as it will trigger weight gain. In fact, it is outlined in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. But there have been several studies debunking the notion that skipping breakfast will make you fat. One such study, done by scientists in New York in 2014, found that individuals who were overweight experienced weight loss following a no-breakfast diet for four weeks.
The advice that skipping breakfast could lead to weight gain was first entered in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which says: "Eat a nutrient-dense breakfast. Not eating breakfast has been associated with excess body weight, especially among children and adolescents. Consuming breakfast also has been associated with weight loss and weight loss maintenance, as well as improved nutrient intake."
That clause in the guidelines is also backed by research published in the journal Obesity in 2007. "Our study suggests that the consumption of breakfast may modestly lower the risk of weight gain in middle-aged and older men," the paper implied, according to the Washington Post.
Experts point out, however, that the study done in 2007 was an observational study of 20,000 participants. This means, the researchers only relied on feedback from its participants. The study done in 2014, meanwhile, has a smaller set of participants, but it was a controlled trial. But it also has some limitations because the researchers only tracked the participants' breakfast intake for a short period of time.
"It's so difficult to do these dietary studies," Diane McKay from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tuft's University via Yahoo Health.
So, what should the public follow - skip breakfast or eat breakfast?
"I don't ever recommend that patients skip any meals," said Jessica Schultz, a clinical dietitian from The University of Chicago Medicine, in the Yahoo report. "When your body goes into fasting mode, it holds onto what you have and slows your metabolism," she added. "It's almost impossible to lose weight that way."
"I discourage skipping meals because it can throw off your perception of the body's hunger cues and cause you to overeat at your next meal," said Jessica Cording, also a dietitian. But she also adds the type of breakfast is important to weight loss results.
The experts recommend eating a high-protein meal for breakfast to fuel the body through the day.
The Dietary Guidelines, which has been updated for 2015, is used by federal institution's in establishing school lunches and other diet programs subsided by the government.