Breakfast may not be 'the most important meal'
The theory that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, including for dieters, may not be true, research suggests.
A review of studies found that it does not appear to help people lose weight and should not necessarily be recommended as a weight-loss strategy.
Previous studies had suggested that eating breakfast revs up the metabolism and can help dieters stop overeating later in the day.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) says research shows that "people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip it, are less likely to be overweight" and "lose weight more successfully if overweight", but a new review sheds doubt on this.
Researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, examined 13 studies related to breakfast and weight in high income countries, including the UK. The pooled results found a very small difference in weight between those who ate breakfast and those who did not, with those who skipped breakfast on average 0.44kg lighter.
Those who ate breakfast also ate around 260 calories more per day, so the review found people who skipped breakfast did not compensate by eating more later in the day.
The report in the 'British Medical Journal' also said there was no significant difference in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers.
However, it added that eating breakfast could improve concentration and attentiveness levels in children.