TIME Nutrition

Everything You Know About Breakfast Is Wrong

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bsterling—Getty Images/RooM RF

Scientists discover breakfast may not provide all the benefits we thought it did. But there are other reasons you should eat it

Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day if you do it right. And weight loss advice has always encouraged eating breakfast for optimal weight management. However, two new studies show this might not be true.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) discovered that skipping breakfast doesn’t necessarily help or harm weight loss efforts. In their 16-week clinical trial looking at overweight and obese participants,they report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that eating or skipping breakfast had no effect on participants’ weight loss.

Another study in the same journal found that contrary to popular belief, having breakfast every day was not tied to an improvement in metabolism. Prior thought—supported by research—has shown that eating early in the day can prevent people from overeating later out of hunger, and it boosts their metabolism early. The new study which examined causal links between breakfast habits and energy balance couldn’t prove that.

The first study did not control the intake of the participants, which could have an impact on their findings, and the second study suggests there are still other reasons to eat breakfast. The researchers of the second study found that eating breakfast was causally linked to more energy burned during physical activity, and more stable blood sugar levels in the afternoon and evening.

Although the studies question some commonly shared perspectives on the morning meal, skipping breakfast isn’t necessarily the answer—especially if not eating in the morning makes you a grump. Keep your family, friends, and coworkers in mind, please.

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