Breakfast and Weight Management

A growing body of research suggests that eating breakfast is a successful strategy for lasting weight loss.
Breakfast and Weight Management

Even though eating breakfast has long been linked to good health and a nutritious diet, skipping it may seem like an easy way to cut calories when trying to lose weight. A growing body of research, however, indicates that eating breakfast is a successful strategy for lasting weight loss.

Breakfast Skipping and Obesity
Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. Some studies have found that those who skip breakfast end up eating more calories through the course of the day compared to those who don't – and weight gain is the result.i This may be due to increased feelings of hunger which can lead to overeating, particularly higher-fat foods later in the day.

Therefore, eating breakfast may help to control appetite and lower the chances of overeating throughout the day.

Eating Breakfast and Maintaining Weight Loss
Eating breakfast may also help with keeping weight off for the long term. Participants from the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a database of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept if off for one year or more, reported eating breakfast on a regular basis as one of their key strategies for maintaining weight loss. Of the 2,959 participants surveyed from the NWCR, 78% had breakfast 7 days a week and only 4% said that they never ate breakfast.ii The researchers suggested that eating breakfast may help to reduce hunger later in the day as well as provide key nutrients that may enhance physical activity, another key strategy for maintaining weight loss.

Type of Breakfast
The type of breakfast and its influence on weight management is an active area of research. Some studies have shown that eating ready-to-eat cereal is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI) and better diet quality than eating other breakfast foods.iii However, a 2005 study found that participants who consumed a high protein breakfast had enhanced feelings of eating satisfaction, fullness and lower food intake compared with those eating a low-protein breakfast.iv More research is needed to determine the impact of breakfast type on weight loss.

Bottom Line
Making breakfast part of a daily routine is a key strategy to use as part of a lifestyle management approach for long-term, sustainable weight loss.


i Farshchi HR, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Deleterious effects of omitting breakfast on insulin sensitivity and fasting lipid profiles in healthy lean women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):388-96.

ii Wyatt HR, Grunwald GK, Mosca CL, Klem ML, Wing RR, Hill JO. Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity Research 2002;10:78-82.

iii Sorensen LB, Moller P, Flint A, Martens M, Raben A. The effect of breakfast type on total daily energy intake and body mass index: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Journal of the American College Nutrition. 2003;22:296-302.

iv Vander Wal JS, Marth JM, Khosla P, Jen KL, Dhurandhar NV. Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Dec:24(6):510-5

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