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We’ve heard it all our lives – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But as pervasive as that axiom is, there really is no scientific evidence to support it.  Now the New York Times reports that scientists at a number of universities around the world, who have been studying the morning meal and its impact on weight loss have found that eating or skipping breakfast had no effect on the weight, level of blood sugar, or cholesterol of the sample groups.

The study at the University of Bath (England) found “After six weeks, their body weights, resting metabolic rates, cholesterol and most measures of blood sugar were about the same as they had been at the start, whether people ate breakfast or not. The one difference was that the breakfast eaters seemed to move around more during the morning; their activity monitors showed that volunteers in this group burned almost 500 calories more in light-intensity movement. But by eating breakfast, they also consumed an additional 500 calories each day. Contrary to popular belief, skipping breakfast had not driven volunteers to wolf down enormous lunches and dinners — but it had made them somewhat more sluggish first thing in the morning.”

Dr. Emily Dhurandhar of the University of Alabama says that according to the data available from these studies “breakfast may be just another meal.”  But as with all studies, these carry cautionary notes. “Each study was fairly short-term, however, and involved a limited range of volunteers. More randomized experiments are needed before we can fully understand the impact of breakfast, said James Betts, the professor who led the study of lean people. It’s not yet clear, for instance, whether heavy people’s bodies respond differently to morning meals than lean people’s, or if the timing and makeup of breakfast matters.”

Photo: flickr.com

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