Skipping breakfast few times a week may be a reasonable strategy to shed pounds, a new study has claimed.
"There's a fundamental belief that if you don't eat breakfast, you will compensate for the lost calories at lunch or later in the day. We've found that there is no caloric compensation in a normal group of eaters," said study senior author David Levitsky from the Cornell University.
"If you skip breakfast, you may be hungrier, but you won't eat enough calories to make up for the lost breakfast," said Levitsky.
As a result, your total daily caloric intake will decrease, researchers said.
The research co-authored by Carly R Pacanowski either fed or withheld breakfast from a group of volunteers, half who were regular breakfast eaters and half who regularly skipped breakfast.
Researchers observed how much the participants ate the rest of the day. Although the breakfast skippers were hungrier than the breakfast eaters, they did not eat more at lunch or at any other eating occasion.
In fact, by the end of the day, the breakfast skippers consumed an average of 408 fewer calories.
These findings are consistent with previous studies on the effects of skipping breakfast and subsequent intake, researchers said.
Researchers challenge the common belief that eating breakfast daily is essential for weight management. People who skip breakfast consume fewer calories and may reap health benefits by eating less.
"We need to revisit the assumption that we must always eat breakfast, and learn if we really need to eat breakfast all the time," said Pacanowski.
"I realise that skipping breakfast runs counter to common belief that breakfast is an important meal for weight control, but the data do not support this view. Of course, these results apply to healthy adults if you’re diabetic or hypoglycemic, for example, you need to eat breakfast to maintain glucose levels," Levitsky said.
"But generally, we must learn to eat less and occasionally skipping breakfast may be a reasonable way to accomplish this," Levitsky said.
The study was published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour.
A recent Harvard study has found that men who regularly skip breakfast may be at a 27 per cent higher risk of heart attack than those who take their morning meal.