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THE HEALTH DEBRIEF

FAD-FREE insight DEBUNKED food & health news HEALTHFUL ways to eat better

THE MEDIC’S VIEW

BY DR TIM SPECTOR

Is the ‘Eat a good breakfast’ mantra just another weight-loss myth?

It’s endlessly repeated by doctors, the NHS and countless magazine columns: if you want to be healthy and lose weight, you need to eat a good breakfast. But does the evidence stack up? The latest research published in the BMJ finds no scientific evidence link between eating breakfast and weight loss.

Thirteen randomised controlled studies in the US and UK comparing breakfast consumption showed that eating at the beginning of the day doesn’t help weight loss and may actually have the opposite effect. Resting metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns energy when at complete rest) isn’t affected by skipping breakfast, and compensatory overeating later in the day isn’t enough to make up for the lost calories at breakfast. Breakfast as we know it today – toast with marmalade and often sugar-laden breakfast cereals – is a modern invention driven by the availability of food and attractive marketing campaigns from the food industry. Observation of the Hadza people in Tanzania, a huntergatherer tribe living like our ancestors, shows they lack a breakfast routine, eating late in the day or when they’re hungry. This hasn’t made them obese – on the contrary, they have thriving gut microbiome communities and lack most of the modern Western diseases.

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About delicious. Magazine

Celebrate spring with our April/Easter issue: the maestro Francesco Mazzei creates an Italian feast while Raymond Blanc roasts a salmon French-style. Finish off with cakes from Bake Off’s Martha Collison, Paul A Young's new sticky, chocolate pud or Brick House's orange hot cross bun loaf. Read how in 1999 British food changed forever and find out whether counting calories works. If you've ever wanted to visit Amsterdam, we've got the latest foodie recommendations as well as a round-up of the best Easter eggs AND 16 extra pages of brilliant cheesecakes!