Breakfast - The most important meal of the day?

The mantra of breakfast being the most important meal of the day has been ingrained in most of us from an early age.

We have been told that breakfast helps our metabolism and that skipping it will make us much hungrier. By being hungrier we will eat more and put on weight. Is this just another diet myth?

The perceived disadvantages of missing breakfast have now been debunked in a meta-analysis of 11 randomized trials that have been performed to date. A meta-analysis is a statistical procedure for combining data from multiple studies, basically making it one big study, with potentially less error identifying a common effect.

The results:

  • No evidence that skipping breakfast makes you gain weight or adversely reduces your resting metabolic rate

  • Evidence suggests that skipping breakfast can actually be a useful strategy to reduce weight

  • Evidence seems to be accumulating that increasing fasting intervals between eating can help people to lose weight


See study in BMJ, 30 Jan 2019
Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 2019;364:l42