By Malia Frey – Reviewed by a board-certified physician.
Updated December 03, 2015
Have you heard that eating breakfast can boost metabolism? Are you ready to load up on breakfast foods that help you burn more calories? It might seem logical that eating a meal first thing in the morning gets your metabolism revved up. But researchers who study the importance of breakfast for weight loss don’t necessarily agree. If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure you get your facts straight about breakfast so that you get the weight loss results that you deserve.
The Importance of Breakfast for Weight Loss.
Do you need to eat breakfast to boost metabolism and lose weight? Not necessarily, say researchers. When it comes to studying breakfast and metabolism, the science is inconclusive. In fact, there’s no research proving that breakfast can boost metabolism.
When members of the American Society for Nutrition met to discuss the importance of breakfast, they looked at studies about meal frequency and weight loss. Their conclusion? Since eating habits are very hard to study, research hasn’t been able to prove that eating breakfast – or any particular meal – can boost metabolism. In fact, they found no data to suggest that how often we eat has any effect on how many calories you burn every day.
A statement released by the International Society for Sports Nutrition reinforced that conclusion. The group said that “Increased meal frequency does not appear to significantly enhance diet-induced thermogenesis, total energy expenditure or resting metabolic rate.” In real terms, that means that eating regular meals does not have a direct effect on the number of calories we burn throughout the day.
What Dietitians Say About Eating Breakfast to Boost Metabolism
You might be tempted to dismiss the science because it does seem logical that eating breakfast can boost metabolism. And a healthy breakfast is good for you, right? But even registered dietitians are clear about what breakfast can and cannot do for you if you want to lose weight.
Nutrition and diabetes educator Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., CDE, explains that many people misunderstand the benefits of eating breakfast.
“Eating breakfast doesn’t affect metabolic rate in the way people like to say it does. There are studies to support breakfast eating for weight management, but not for a calorie-burning boost.”
Her opinion is supported by the position statement of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which is endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine. In their statement about eating breakfast, they confirm that, while eating breakfast has been associated with a lower body weight, there is no clear evidence to suggest that eating breakfast can boost metabolism.
Should I Eat Breakfast to Lose Weight?
If you’re a dieter, and you’re confused about how to boost your metabolism to lose weight, don’t worry. The science about breakfast doesn’t mean that you should skip your morning meal. Just because eating breakfast may not improve your metabolism doesn’t mean that you should skip the meal entirely.
There are certainly benefits to eating a healthy breakfast, and to eating regular meals throughout the day.
But it’s important to understand the importance of breakfast if you want to lose weight. Breakfast is no more or less important than any other meal. What matters in the end is your total calorie intake for the day. Eat healthy meals that are low in calories to help you curb hunger and avoid binge eating. Then use exercise and an active lifestyle to boost metabolism and lose weight for good.
David J. Clayton, David J. Stensel, Lewis J. James” Effect of breakfast omission on subjective appetite, metabolism, acylated ghrelin and GLP-17-36 during rest and exercise Journal of Nutrition July 11, 2015.
McCrory MA, Campbell WW. ” Effects of eating frequency, snacking, and breakfast skipping on energy regulation: symposium overview.” Journal of Nutrition, January 14, 2011.
American Dietetic Association. ” Position of the American Dietetic Association: Weight Management.” February 2009.
Paul M La Bounty, Bill I Campbell, et al. ” International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: meal frequency.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition March 16, 2011.