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Learn how to apply current physiology and nutrition research to improve your health and performance.

The Effect of Breakfast on your Body Weight and Calorie Intake

This information is from a brand new review and meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal. This is a very credible journal and if a researcher can get their research published in it then it is worth your time.


Obesity problems in many countries seem to be on the rise over the past few decades. The government and various health organizations have attempted to control the problem by recommending that people should consume breakfast daily for weight management and to protect themselves against obesity. They recommend this because they assume people will overindulge later in the day if they skip breakfast. They also believe that any food eaten later in the day will not provide the brain with the feeling of fullness if breakfast gets skipped.

There have been a handful of recent studies that do not support eating breakfast if weight loss is desired. This recently published review examined the evidence of randomized controlled clinical trials on the effect of breakfast consumption on weight change and daily calorie consumption.


  • The average differences between breakfast eating or breakfast skipping were very small on weight change

  • The participants who skipped breakfast only lost 1 pound more than those who ate breakfast daily

  • There was a pattern with the participants who ate breakfast daily: they typically would consume more calories in a day vs the participants who skipped breakfast daily.

  • The hormones involved with appetite regulation and energy balance and found that they did not differ significantly between either group.

Take Home Point

The researchers recommended that if weight loss is desired to skip breakfast if your strategy is to reduce total daily calorie consumption, and that you don’t have to worry about overindulging in calories in the afternoon.


Sievert, K. (2019). Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Medical Journal, 364(142), 1-12. doi:10.1136/bmj.l42