Does breakfast help us lose weight or does it have the opposite effect? The truth is that there are contradictory studies in this regard. Thus, a large population study published in The Journal of Nutrition, suggests that a hearty breakfast helps us avoid taking other bites during the day, which keeps weight gain at bay. Another study published in the journal British Journal of Nutrition, and xponía that skipping breakfast does not affect our calorie intake throughout the day. However, most of these studies are observational and cannot tell us much about the mechanisms behind weight loss, our metabolism and breakfast.
New research developed by the University of Bath (United Kingdom) and published in the Journal of Physiology has explored the metabolic effects of taking or skipping breakfast. The study, directed by Javier González, examines how breakfast affects the metabolism and fat cells of thin and obese people.
The experts asked 49 adult participants to eat breakfast or fast until noon, every day, for 6 weeks. Of the participants, 29 were classified as “thin” and 20 as “obese”, according to their body mass index (BMI). Participants in the breakfast group consumed 350 kilocalories within 2 hours after awakening, while those in the fasting group consumed nothing until noon.
Both before and after, the team examined the cardiometabolic health markers of the volunteers, their responses to appetite and their distribution of body fat. In addition, they monitored the activity of 44 genes that regulate key proteins, and the ability of fat cells to use glucose in response to insulin.
The thin get benefits for skipping breakfast
The results determined that, in thin people, skipping breakfast for 6 weeks increased the activity of the genes that helped burn fat, therefore, improved metabolism. However, this effect was not observed in obese adults.
Thus, in obese individuals, fat cells could not take as much glucose in response to insulin as thin people did. This effect seems to be proportional to the fat of the whole body of the individual.
Researchers believe that this is a mechanism of adaptation in people with obesity, where your body is trying to limit the amount of glucose that your fat cells can take, so avoid storing extra fat.
“By better understanding how fat responds to what and when we eat, it can help us focus more on those mechanisms, we can discover new ways to prevent the negative consequences of having a large body fat, even if we cannot get rid of it” explains González.
The study, however, has limitations, as participants took breakfasts with a high carbohydrate content, hence it is not possible to extrapolate these findings to other types of breakfasts, especially those with a high protein content.
“Our future studies will also explore how breakfast interacts with other lifestyle factors such as exercise,” Gonzalez concludes.