If you’re following the SuppVersity news, you may remember a post from Wednesday in which I outlined that it is no wonder people fail to lose the weight they intend to, because they try to achieve this weight loss by having soup or, you guessed it, finally doing what the mainstream nutrition experts’ cookie-cutter approaches suggest and.. have breakfast, every day. What actually happens to those who fall for the epidemiological bullsh*t science that’s trying to extrapolate causal relationships from observational (often unreliable) data has now been demonstrated by a group of US scientists. Believe it or not, Gabrielle Marie LeCheminant et al. are the first researchers to actually experimentally investigated how starting to have breakfast voluntarily will affect your energy intake and weight trajectory.
What? No, the other studies you may have read did not focus on the aforementioned group of people who believe they were doing themselves a favor if they started having breakfast regularly.
That’s people like the forty-nine female nonhabitual breakfast-eaters who were randomized to one of two conditions: breakfast or no breakfast for 4 weeks.
- breakfast eaters ate at least 15% of their daily energy requirement before 8:30 a.m
- non-breakfast eaters did not consume any energy until after 11:30 a.m.
Weight and body fat were assessed at baseline and after four weeks of intervention. Body fat was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Participants completed seven 24-hour recalls to assess dietary intake during the intervention. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry for 32 consecutive days.
Figure 1: Participant flow diagram (LeCheminant. 2017).
As you, as a SuppVersity reader, know the addition of breakfast did not magically resolve any of the medically irrelevant weight problems of the normal-weight pre-menopausal female subjects. On the opposite: On average, the participants randomized to eat breakfast consumed 266 ± 496 (F = 12.81; P < 0.01) more calories per day over the course of the study and weighed 0.7 ± 0.8 kg (F = 7.81; p < 0.01) more at the end of the intervention than their “intermittently fasting” peers.
Figure 1: Rel. change (% baseline) in energy and macronutrient intake during the study (LeCheminant. 2017).
How come? Well, as you probably also expected, there was no caloric compensation in form of reduced energy intake on subsequent meals. So let’s recap:
- significantly increased energy intake and significant weight gain of which 83% are body fat,
- a significantly increased intake of carbohydrates (with people gravitating to cornflakes & co. much sugar),
- no change in self-reported hunger or satiety, and
- no increase in physical activity and/or decrease in sedentary time that would help compensate the increased energy intake due to having breakfast (see Table 1),
- a practically irrelevant subjective increase in energy before the lunch-break
So, practically speaking: Everything people who criticize the notion that “everyone should have breakfast” argue against this overgeneralizing bogus advice happened; and that’s in total opposition to the alleged benefits the mainstream promotes, of which none was observed.
But Dr. Oz says… Yes, you can argue that the benefits take their time to surface, but in view of the fact that this is not the first convincing study to show that you better stick to your habitual breakfast habits instead of shoveling down a (in many cases) sugary (!) breakfast when you’re not hungry.
No idea, what I am talking about? Well, review my 2015 article “Latest Study on ‘Breakfast Skipping’ Finds: Whether Skipping Breakfast Increases Insulin, Hunger, and Blood Lipids Depends on One’s Breakfast Habits” (read the full 2015 article) to learn more about the ill-health-consequences of force-feeding yourself or others in the AM.
If you’re a breakfast eater, on the other hand, don’t stop what you’re doing and exchange your (hopefully non-cereal-junk breakfast) for a latte or cappuccino, which is – what I guess – where many of the 66.8kcal in the non-breakfast group came from (see Table 1). You may, after all, share the same problem one of the dropouts had: you could be too physically active (in your job or due to your training schedule) to skip breakfast | Do you have breakfast habitually? Let me know.!
LeCheminant, et al. “A randomized controlled trial to study the effects of breakfast on energy intake, physical activity, and body fat in women who are nonhabitual breakfast eaters.” Appetite – Available online 4 January 2017, in press, accepted manuscript