Ask Well: Does Skipping Breakfast Cause Weight Gain?
Does skipping breakfast cause weight gain?
When I was younger, my mother said that if I don’t eat breakfast then I’ll “train” my metabolism to slow down, thus leading to weight gain and associated health issues. I prefer to just have some tea and eat a snack a few hours after getting up. Any truth to her theory?
The food industry has promoted this claim for decades to sell breakfast cereal. But rigorous scientific studies have found no evidence that it’s true.
The idea that a hearty breakfast is good for your health dates back to the 1920s, when Edward Bernays, a public relations guru, led a nationwide media campaign encouraging people to start their mornings with bacon and eggs. One of Mr. Bernays’s clients at the time was Beech-Nut Packing Company, which sold bacon and other pork products.
丰盛的早餐有益健康这种说法可以追溯到20世纪20年代，当时有个名叫爱德华·伯内斯(Edward Bernays)的公关大佬领导了一项全国性的媒体宣传活动，鼓励人们早餐吃培根和鸡蛋。而当时，伯内斯先生的一个客户正是销售培根等猪肉制品的比纳肉类加工公司(Beech-Nut Packing Company)。
In the decades that followed, dozens of observational studies reported that breakfast eaters tended to be leaner. Though these studies could not show cause and effect, many health authorities and food companies asserted that they proved that eating breakfast protects against weight gain.
But experimental studies that randomly assigned people to eat or skip breakfast have found no such thing. One of the most recent, published in February, found no difference “in weight change and most health outcomes” between people assigned to eat breakfast for six weeks and those assigned to skip it.
“Whether or not you have breakfast in itself is not going to impact your body weight,” said James Betts, an author of the study and an associate professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Bath in England.
该研究的作者、英国巴斯大学(University of Bath)的营养和代谢学副教授詹姆斯·贝茨(James Betts)说：“吃不吃早餐本身并不会影响你的体重。”
Dr. Betts said that unlike randomized trials, observational studies of breakfast consumption could be misleading. They show, for example, that people who eat breakfast also follow other behaviors associated with good health. They tend to drink and smoke less, consume less sugar, eat more fiber and exercise more than those who skip a morning meal.
“All we know from observational studies is that people who have breakfast are leaner,” he said. “But it may be other factors that are the reason.”